Conventional wisdom is that, if support for Ben Carson and Donald Trump melts, it will flow disproportionately to Ted Cruz. You would think that pollsters would want to test that assumption.
So it was odd that a Monmouth University poll, released yesterday, presented South Carolina voters “with a hypothetical contest that included eight of the more establishment-type candidates — specifically excluding Trump, Carson, Fiorina, and Cruz.” Why exclude Cruz?
The first three in that list have never held public office. Will voters attracted to their outsider status and offer of something different from the same old same old change their minds when the primary nears? Will they decide that a president really should have vision, yes, but also policy expertise and experience with the nuts and bolts of government?
That is, will they drift to Cruz? Isn’t he the candidate who best integrates traditional qualifications with a stark conservative message or at least the profile of a populist conservative? People are wondering and asking those questions. Monmouth had an opportunity to answer them and blew it.