But this poor pollster had no real effect on the greater cause of the Cantor meltdown. The real problem was that Cantor and what is described by many as a very haughty staff (imagine that in D.C.) began to believe that they truly were "national." You know, big deals that really did folks back home a favor by letting them be graced with the Majority Leader's (occasional) presence in their district.
The truth be known, Cantor and his advisers were caught up in their obsession game of cat-and-mouse in whether or not to stage a coup to topple Speaker John Boehner. Alternatively, they wrestled with how to help preserve Boehner's position, lest another member leapfrog over Cantor and become Speaker. As a result of all this, they really couldn't be too bothered with the folks back home and some local college professor opponent.
Yes the "tea party" movement is not dead in the GOP. But even with half the national tea party leaders taking credit for an upset defeat in which they played no part whatsoever, the real message from Eric Cantor's defeat can be found in how the candidate and his advisors lost touch with their voters.
And proof of that can be found in the resounding victory of Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham in South Carolina over a half-dozen challengers in the GOP primary. Graham's politics have often drifted toward reaching across the partisan aisle. And on some "tea party" issues, he receives less-than-perfect scores.
But Graham never swallowed the story that he is bigger than the people who elect him. He has remained approachable to his constituents and has never come to believe that people from his state were simply "the masses" to somehow be placated on his road to power.
And, I might add, Lindsey Graham would have never believed a poll that had him 30-plus points ahead, at least not until the last vote had been counted and the poll proved right.