There’s still a lot of head-scratching going on (mine included) about David Brat’s upset win over Majority Leader Eric Cantor. For now, let’s let Mark Blumenthal and Ariel Edwards-Levy weigh in, from their HuffPollster post, “Cantor’s Pollster Releases post-Election Survey“:
… The new data put to rest the argument that Cantor was undone by an “Operation Chaos” scenario involving Democrats hoping to nominate a weaker GOP candidate. As pollster Mark Mellman (D) pointed out on Twitter, if all of the self-identified Democrats in McLaughlin’s new survey had not voted, Cantor would still have lost among the remaining Republicans and independents. McLaughlin’s analysis concedes that Cantor’s undoing was an “organic turnout” of both independents and Democrats who do not typically vote in Republican primaries.
The independents who made it into the McLaughlin post-election survey demonstrate a strong conservative bent: 75 percent disapprove of President Obama, 74 percent oppose the ACA, 58 percent say they agree with or consider themselves part of the Tea Party and 61 percent plan to vote for Brat in the general election, versus just 17 percent who plan to vote for Democratic nominee Jack Trammel. “I think it was an organic, anti-Washington, anti-establishment turnout, and because it was a Republican incumbent, it was easier for the Democrats and the independents who normally vote Democrat to come in and vote and vent their anger at Washington via Eric,” McLaughlin said.
No doubt Cantor was the near-perfect lightening rod for generalized anti-incumbency, but Ed Kilgore’s take that it could well be unique to him also fits with this data. Meanwhile, Here’s the cross tabs on John McLaughlin’s post-election survey.