Most of the Republican base appears willing to accept some ideological concession if need be to select a presidential candidate that can actually win. From CNN:
Given the choice between a candidate who agrees with them on the issues or a candidate who can defeat President Barack Obama in 2012, a new national poll indicates Republicans overwhelming [sic] want a winner.
According to CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Tuesday, nearly seven out of ten Republicans say they would prefer a GOP presidential nominee who can top Obama in the next election, with 29 percent saying a nominee who agrees with them on every issue that matters the most is more important.
This poll would seem to dash the hopes of some Democrats that President Obama would face an easy re-election because a Tea Party-fueled Republican base would choose a radical, unelectable nominee, but I don’t think the possibility is as totally remote as this poll would first make it seem.
To begin with, the fact that 29 percent are willing to select ideology over electability is a large number, and I suspect that 29 percent tends to be a group of very dedicated Republicans who are most likely to turnout to vote in the primaries. In what is possibly going to be a four-way race, as little as a third of the vote in theory could be enough to win a plurality.
In addition, even though 68 percent claim to value electability that doesn’t mean all of them would be a prefect judge of that. It is easy to imagine that some voters would become convinced the candidate that most agrees with them also happens to be the most electable. People tend to think most people are like themselves.