When reporters miss the story: Rudy and conservatives.

Alan Fram AP’s story about Rudy Giuliani and conservatives fundamentally misses the point. He says, "Giuliani’s Conservative Vote Tenuous." That would be true, if it turned out that his lead in polls was based on the vote of conservatives who don’t know what he thinks on issues. It seems that the important analysis of his story is:

Yet a close look suggests his support from the GOP’s potent right wing is less than meets the eye, according to recent Associated Press-Ipsos polls.

But the important point is that, Rudy Giuliani holds the lead in-spite of weak support from conservatives. Rudy has found a possibly winning coalition does not involve the most conservative elements of the party.  That, dear reader, is a story. That shows that his path to winning the nomination is less-than-tenuous. But the reporter doesn’t seem to understand that the goal in a primary is to build coalitions within the party.

Let’s look at the facts from the poll:

Conservatives, evangelical and born-again voters, and strongly loyal Republicans who back Giuliani tend to be less conservative, less religiously active and less supportive of President Bush than those favoring Fred Thompson, Giuliani’s chief rival so far, the surveys show.

Is that news? That Rudy’s conservatives are less conservative?

And:

  • Just 37 percent of Giuliani’s conservatives call themselves strongly Republican, compared to 52 percent of Thompson’s.
  • While 22 percent of Giuliani’s evangelical or born-again Christian supporters say they are very conservative, 47 percent of Thompson’s do.
  • Sixty-four percent of Giuliani’s supporters approve of Bush’s performance, compared to 78 percent of Thompson’s.

Isn’t this fantastic news for the Giuliani campaign? Doesn’t this tell us that his lead is based on people who aren’t going to go fleeing when someone (who?) puts up ads saying that he’s a liberal?

Isn’t this a reason for confidence? They know he is pro-choice, gay-friendly, etc. And they still support him. What additional information is going to make Rudy’s numbers fall? Probably not information about abortion, etc.

At least the reporters aren’t alone in their ignorance. The conservative interest groups don’t get it either.