Saturday, December 01, 2007

Focus group reacts to GOP debate

Joe Klein has an interesting post (shocking but true) about Frank Luntz's focus group's reaction during the debate:

In the next segment--the debate between Romney and Mike Huckabee over Huckabee's college scholarships for the deserving children of illegal immigrants--I noticed something really distressing: When Huckabee said, "After all, these are children of God," the dials plummeted. And that happened time and again through the evening: Any time any candidate proposed doing anything nice for anyone poor, the dials plummeted (30s). These Republicans were hard.

But there was worse to come: When John McCain started talking about torture--specifically, about waterboarding--the dials plummeted again. Lower even than for the illegal Children of God. Down to the low 20s, which, given the natural averaging of a focus group, is about as low as you can go. Afterwards, Luntz asked the group why they seemed to be in favor of torture. "I don't have any problem pouring water on the face of a man who killed 3000 Americans on 9/11," said John Shevlin, a retired federal law enforcement officer. The group applauded, appallingly.

They also hated anything that Ron Paul said (high 30s to low 20s), especially on the war in Iraq.

They tended to like Huckabee a lot (60s to 80s anytime he opened his mouth), but afterwards most said he was too extreme, religiously, to be President. Really, they did.

I think it's too funny that the group found Huckabee too extreme -- hoisted on his own petard. I guess there are some Republicans who aren't interested in a pastor-in-chief.