Chris Matthews cites a recent Gallup poll in the beginning of the segment—Conservatives Maintain Edge as Top Ideological Group—which shows those w
October 28, 2009

Chris Matthews cites a recent Gallup poll in the beginning of the segment—Conservatives Maintain Edge as Top Ideological Group—which shows those who would describe their political views as conservative at 40%, moderate 36% and liberal 20%. He goes on to take this leap about just what that poll means later in the segment which Bob Herbert rightly calls him on.

Matthews: There’s a big disconnect here in the polling and I’m looking at the NBC poll, we’re going to have it more here tonight, I’ve looked at the Gallup numbers—here’s the disconnect—the Republican Party is a lousy brand name right now. It is way down below one in five, but on every issue from semi-automatic weapons to traditional values to abortion to every…regulation of business…

Buchanan: Immigrants…

Matthews: …every issue the country is lurching to the right in ideological terms at the same time as the base of the Republican brand. How do you explain that Rob?

Herbert: Are you saying the country’s lurching to the right?

Matthews: On every issue—look at the Gallup polls.

Herbert: I completely disagree with you on that.

Matthews: Ugghh…

Herbert: You’re giving too much credence to this poll. Pat just said a moment ago…

Matthews: Why don’t you look at the polls?

Herbert: …that the Republicans can unite behind all these issues for the off year elections—they can’t even—they haven’t even been able to unite in this upstate Congressional district in the Congressional election that’s coming up next week. You’ve got Republicans lining up behind the Conservative Party candidate who’s putting the knives in the back of the Republican candidate. So where’s the unity?

Never one to let logic get in the way of his preconceived notion Matthews asks if this means the conservatives are more “powerful than ever” if they’re the spoilers in Republican elections. Herbert reminds him that turning the Republican Party hard to the right is not good for them winning elections nationally. Earlier in the segment he also reminded Matthews that Republicans are not leading in a related poll about who Americans trust to run the country.

Of course Pat Buchanan, ever the staunch Sarah Palin fan-boy thinks the party needs more ideological purity and goes on to call the Republican candidate from NY-23 a liberal. As Herbert notes, Buchanan's got a pretty strange notion of who should be called a liberal these days. I would imagine the false memes continually put out by or MSM has a lot to do with people's perception of whether they are liberal or conservative or not, as was reflected in that poll. When people continually hear unions bashed and liberal treated as though it were some sort of dirty word, it's little wonder they might shy from the label.

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