(See also Kurt Michael’s political cartoon, Evolution of the GOP.)
Congressman Eric Cantor was defeated in the June 10th Republican Primary by voters other than Republicans.
While the Congressman won past Republican primaries with a comfortable margin, he was beaten by a large turnout of first-time primary voters, Independents, and Democrats. The findings by McLaughlin and Associates help to confirm a Washington Post story by Democrat Brian Umana who claimed to work with tea party leaders to cultivate outside voters to defeat the Majority Leader (see Democrats help tea party down Eric Cantor).
While political pundits are still coming up with a dozen reasons why Cantor lost, the real story is in the numbers that tell a blunt truth that could come back to bite Republicans in future elections. Tea party members worked with Democrats and libertarians to solicit first-time voters and non-Republicans into an open Republican Primary to vote against the solid Republican candidate.
Update: More proof that Democrats crossed over … this from Virginia Democratic strategist Ben Tribbett: “Post primary polling shows Dave Brat won by 76 points (88-12) among primary voters that favor Obamacare. Cantor won 52-48 among others. Looks like the Democrats did do it after all. Good work 7th CD Dems!”
McLaughlin and Associates noted:
The Virginia Republican primary system was totally open to all voters. It is now clear that Eric Cantor’s national standing gave the race a lot of local interest among many more voters than just past Republican primary voters, including politically interested Independents and Democrats as well. Without a parallel Democrat primary, this election was very similar to a wide-open jungle-style primary. It created an organic turnout of new voters not included in our previous poll of past primary voters.
Some startling facts were revealed by the McLaughlin poll about the types of voters who were organized to go to the polls:
– Although 76 percent of the June 10 primary voters disapproved of the job Barack Obama is doing as President, 22 percent approved — more than double the number that is usually found in a Republican Primary.
– The most significant differences are that almost half the voters, 46 percent, are not Republicans including 13 percent Democrats, and 33 percent Independents or refused to answer.
– Only 64 percent said that they normally vote in Republican primaries. 11% claim that they normally vote in Democratic primaries. Eleven percent admitted this was their first time voting in a primary and 14 percent didn’t know or refused to answer.
– When citing the pre-coded actual voter history, only 28 percent had voted in the March 2012 Republican primary for President. Only 42 percent had voted in the June 2012 Republican primary for Congress and only 28 percent had voted in the March 2008 Republican primary for President.
– Only 55 percent had voted in at least one of the three past Republican primaries. Only 33 percent had voted in two of the Republican primaries. Only 14 percent had voted in all three Republican primaries.
– 45 percent had never voted in a Republican primary before. 29 percent had actually voted in a Democratic primary. 31 percent of the respondents had never voted in any primary before.
– When asked about the November general election for Congress, the generic Republican gets 68 percent, but 19 percent of these primary voters say that they will vote for the generic Democrat and 13 percent are undecided.
With these significant differences in voter makeup, there were decisive differences in how they voted.
Eric Cantor won among voters who voted in at least one Republican primary 52 percent-48 percent, at least two Republican primaries 56 percent-44 percent, and all three Republican primaries 62 percent-38 percent; among affiliated Republicans 55 percent-45percent; voters who say they normally vote in Republican primaries 52 percent-48 percent; those who are now undecided in their choice for Congress 61 percent-39 percent, those who oppose Obamacare 52 percent-48 percent; those who regularly watch Fox News 55 percent-45 percent, those who don’t use the internet or social media 53 percent-47 percent, those who always or usually vote Republican 53 percent-47 percent; Conservatives 51 percent-49 percent; voters over 65 years old 59 percent-41 percent, moderate Republicans 55 percent-45 percent and conservative Republicans 54 percent-46 percent.
In contrast Dave Brat won among those who had voted in a Democratic primary 70 percent-30 percent; those who had never voted in a primary before 59 percent-41 percent; Independents 62 percent-38 percent; Democrats 86 percent-14 percent; those who say it was their first time voting in a primary 61 percent-39 percent; those who say they usually vote in Democratic primaries 84 percent-16 percent; those who are voting for Brat in November 55 percent-45 percent; those who are voting for Trammell in November 75 percent-25 percent; those who would vote for the generic Republican 51 percent-49 percent; those who would vote for the generic Democrat 78 percent-22 percent; those who approve the job Obama is doing 80 percent-20 percent; those who favor Obamacare 88 percent-12 percent; those who do not watch Fox News 74 percent-26 percent; those who regularly listen to conservative talk radio 60 percent-40 percent; those who use social media 61 percent-39 percent; those who are members of the Tea Party 56 percent-44 percent; those who are not members, but agree with the Tea Party 52 percent-48 percent and those who do not agree with the Tea Party 65 percent-35 percent; ticket-splitters 63 percent-37 percent; those who always or usually vote Democratic in November 83 percent-17 percent; moderates 61 percent-39 percent and liberals 77 percent-23 percent; pro-choice voters 60 percent-40 percent; those who approve immigration reform 58 percent-42 percent; those who disapprove immigration reform 56 percent-44 percent; Protestants 51 percent-49 percent; Catholics 69 percent-31 percent; whites 54 percent-46 percent; non-whites 65 percent-35 percent; voters under 65 66 percent-34 percent; and men 60 percent-40 percent.
McLaughlin is not the only group to confirm that Democrats and other non-Republicans played a big part in crossing over to vote in an open Republican Primary (see Silver Bullet poll). Republican Party, voter registration by party (see Cantor loss: It is time for voter registration by party) has been sent to the General Assembly in the past only to go nowhere. It is time.