I'm always so cautious about polls. My opinion of polls is that you can always find one that supports what you want to hear. So with that in mind, I'm excited, yet cautious, about the Club for Growth poll that shows a Hoffman surge in NY-23:
A poll released today by the Club for Growth shows Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman surging into the lead in the special election in New York's 23rd congressional district to replace John McHugh, the former congressman who recently became Secretary of the Army. The poll of 300 likely voters, conducted October 24-25, 2009, shows Conservative Doug Hoffman at 31.3%, Democrat Bill Owens at 27.0%, Republican Dede Scozzafava at 19.7%, and 22% undecided. The poll's margin of error is +/- 5.66%.
Club for Growth has endorsed Hoffman, but does that take any validity from their poll? Who knows. I'd like to say no, but were it in reverse, I'd probably discount the results; say if ACORN produced a poll that showed Scozzafava surging, I'd ignore it.
There's a lot of analysis out there over the past few days about the state of the GOP and the role of third parties. Glenn Beck did a spiel on that yesterday. He was on Fox & Friends this morning commenting on his interview with Hoffman; he noted how Hoffman isn't some polished, professional politician that's been on television forever. He comes across as a regular Joe. Beck says you're going to see more and more people like Hoffman, people who have never run before but who are tired of what they're seeing in Washington and who want to get back to the principles of our country. People are not necessarily going to vote for the letter-designation after the name anymore.
Is this a good thing? Or is it, as Newt says, going to hurt the party in the long run? Here's the deal. This is where I am with it. The party be damned. I've never actually associated myself with "party" and in fact was a registered Democrat up until about eight months ago even though I haven't voted for a Democrat in years. It has always depended on the candidate for me, and how closely they mirror my own values. Most of the time it's a Republican. But if it's a Conservative or a Libertarian or even a Democrat (not likely!), that's where I'm voting.
If that makes the Republican tent too small, then so be it. If it's the end of the Republican party, what have we lost? As it is right now there isn't much difference between that and the Democrats.
I think in Hoffman, people are beginning to see that one individual CAN make a difference. He's providing hope to a lot of people, and not that phony, slick, glamorized "hope" we were encouraged to buy into last year. Real hope. Real grassroots hope.
Run, Doug, Run! Good luck!