Home Store In Memoriam Deborah Newsletter Forum Topics Blogfeed Blogroll Facebook MySpace Contact Us About

Frank Luntz’ Focus Group Votes Herman Cain The Winner of Fox News’ GOP Presidential Debate

Reported by Ellen - May 6, 2011 -

I’ve written about a lot of wacky Frank Luntz focus groups but this one, which Sean Hannity described as “South Carolina GOP primary voters” and which Luntz described as “29 of the most important people in America,” has got to be my all time favorite so far. Never mind that all but two of those 29 most important people in America looked white. It may well be a post-racial era for the GOP in South Carolina – at least on the face of it. Because when Luntz asked, in the wake of Fox News' Republican presidential debate, “Let’s go in alphabetical order. How many of you think Herman Cain won the debate?” It was all over. “We can stop right there,” a flabbergasted Luntz said. There was no point in asking for a show of hands for the other candidates, Tim Pawlenty, Ron Paul, Gary Johnson or Rick Santorum because it was nearly unanimous for Cain.

Cain may be African American but most Americans would probably find him to be a bigoted crackpot. As Politico reported, he complained about Obama dithering and being weak and timid in Afghanistan but just moments earlier, had declined to offer his own strategy for the war in Afghanistan. Cain said he doesn't have enough information to provide specifics. Even worse, Cain has announced that he would not hire any Muslims in his administration because “There is this attempt to gradually ease Sharia law and the Muslim faith into our government.” We’re talking Donald Trump territory here – and it’s no surprise Cain supported Trump’s birtherism.

But when Luntz asked the group for “a word or phrase to describe Cain,” some typical responses were: “a breath of fresh air,” “common sense,” “very impressive” and “he had an understanding what it takes to run the government.”

“This is unprecedented!” Luntz said, noting that almost no one had been for Cain before the debate. “This man has never been elected! He has never held public office!” The crowd vociferously let Luntz know they didn’t care.

Of course, most of the so-called heavy hitters were not there. Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Mike Huckabee and even Donald Trump and Sarah Palin were all absent. The state’s Republican Party is reportedly angered and embarrassed by the snubs and Luntz's group seemed to agree. So that could partly account for Cain’s surge.

Still, Hannity did his best to spin for the missing and more-likely-to-win candidates. “There are some legitimate reasons, for example Donald Trump would have to finish The Apprentice. Newt Gingrich has stated that he has some ‘unfinished business’ before he can legally actually jump into the race,” Hannity said. But the crowd started heckling Trump in absentia as Luntz – who has made no secret of his dislike for Trump – egged them on.

As Fox News’ own Andy Levy tweeted after the debate, “If you're looking for the big winner in tonight's GOP debate, it's President Obama.”

submit to reddit

Petitions by Change.org|Start a Petition »