Conservative Bloggers and the GOP Candidates

Right Wing News had a survey of right wing bloggers to ranking their most and desired candidates for the Republican nomination. Newt Gingrich is more desired, while Chuck Hagel, whose possible candidacy is discussed by The Washington Post, comes in last. John McCain comes in 7th place and is second most undesirable. Here are the full results:

Most Desired Nominee For 2008

14) John Cox (4)
13) Jeb Bush (5)
12) Jim Gilmore (5.5)
11) Ron Paul (8.5)
10) Condi Rice (11.5)
9 ) Mike Huckabee (14)
8 ) Tommy Thompson (15.5)
7 ) John McCain (19)
6 ) Sam Brownback (20)
5 ) Tom Tancredo (31.5)
4 ) Duncan Hunter (35.5)
3 ) Mitt Romney (43)
2 ) Rudy Giuliani (45)
1 ) Newt Gingrich (52)

Least Desired Nominee For 2008

13) John Cox (4.5)
12) Jim Gilmore (5.5)
11) Tommy Thompson (9)
10) Ron Paul (10.5)
9 ) Mitt Romney (11.5)
8 ) Mike Huckabee (12)
7 ) Newt Gingrich (13.5)
6 ) Rudy Giuliani (17)
5 ) Sam Brownback (21)
4 ) Tom Tancredo (30)
3 ) George Pataki (49)
2 ) John McCain (60.5)
1 ) Chuck Hagel (64)

If the conventional wisdom holds and we have a Clinton vs. McCain general election race, it looks like both left and right wing bloggers will be unhappy. Perhaps this year will be the test of how much influence the bloggers really have.

This survey also provides some evidence of the realignment in the parties I’ve mentioned in the past. Ten to twenty years ago the major differences were based more upon economic views, with the Republicans talking about conservative social issues but not really doing very much. While there remain differences, most have realized that Democrats are hardly the anti-business “socialists” which the right wingers claimed and many have moved to the Democrats in response to Republican positions on the war and social issues. It is the loss of the “Starbucks Republicans” which contributed to the GOP loss of Congress in 2006.
The influence of the war on party identity is seen both in Chuck Hagel being the least desirable nominee among conservatives, as well as much of the opposition to Hillary Clinton among Democrats. The war is also largely responsible for Joe Lieberman’s campaign failing to get off the ground in 2004, and nobody would take him seriously as a Democratic nominee in the future.

Rudy Giuliani’s second place finish might argue against my placing social issues as a major difference between the parties, but note that the conservative blogosphere has frequent posts on whether Giuliani would make the best candidate despite his more liberal position on social issues. This would also explain why he has a significant number of negative votes as well as positive ones. Similarly, Hillary Clinton’s attempts to pander to the right have contributed to her lack of popularity among liberal bloggers (although she certainly picks up on points among conservative bloggers for this).

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