With Eric Cantor’s somewhat shocking defeat, the Republican party is losing its last Jewish elected representative in either the House or the Senate. His pollsters had him leading by 30 points or more as recently as this past weekend. (Of course, Republican pollsters have been remarkably wrong of late – Karl Rove probably still believes Mitt won Ohio.)
Frank Rizzo, the late former mayor of Philadelphia, was viewed by many as a controversial, divisive political force. Any polls involving Rizzo always had to be taken with a grain of salt – it was said he typically polled 10 points lower than “reality” mainly because people did not want to admit they were voting for Frank Rizzo. That helps explain why, in his final run, in the 1991 Republican mayoral primary, he was able to pull a perceived stunning upset in a three-way contest over party-endorsed Ron Castille and Sam Katz.
Given the propensity of Tea Party and other extreme right-wing elements to explain themselves in terms of self-righteous, pseudo-Christian, fundamentalist “logic,” I wonder, how much, if any, of Cantor’s polling problems might be attributable to a similar latent viewpoint among the decidedly more right-wing element that tends to turn out for Republican primary elections.