From the story:
QUESTION: When you enter an election, you have a carefully laid plan about how you’re going to win it. At what point in the cycle did you realize that plan was meaningless?
DIAZ (Bush's man): I appreciate your starting with me. [laughs] Right after Labor Day, we understood that it was going to be a really, really difficult race for us, despite the advantages that we had. It was persistent in the survey work just the level of unhappiness, anger and disaffection among voters.
ROE (Cruz's man): Labor Day was about the time we knew, too.
QUESTION: Really? That seems early.
ROE: So we did 5,000 calls a night from the day we got in the race to the day we got out. We had a continual analytic program. And you could tell from early on that Trump had a floor. He was always going to have 25 to 30 percent of liberal-to-moderates, he was going to have 25 to 30 percent of somewhat conservatives, he was going to have 25 to 30 percent of very conservatives.They knew their battle plan was useless, and yet they stuck with it.
And yet they stuck with their plan because, well, it was the plan, right? Such inflexibility undermines the argument that these men were more presidential. Flexibility is an argument in Trump's favor.
And what about that base of Trump's? He was a rookie and he waltzed in and took one in four Republicans (25 percent) right of the bat. Just like that. What does that say about the party, its principles, and its principals. Bush -- the Establishment Candidate -- by the end of the year could not muster 5 percent support in the polls.
Trump didn't poll. The other candidates obsessed with polls.
QUESTION: Jeff, what was your polling telling you at the very beginning?
ROE (Cruz): We do our polling a little bit different. We always had a continual, rotating “consider score.” A consider score measures whether a respondent will consider a candidate for the office they are seeking. When Trump got into the race, I think he was at a 28/58 favorable/unfavorable rating. And he was earning about 3 or 4 percent in the overall ballot. But his consider score matched his favorable rating, which never happens. Your consider score should be in between your favorable and your ballot. Ben Carson, on the other hand, had a huge favorable number, but few people seriously considered voting for him for president. So, out of the gate, the race became about him or not him.The nomination race was a referendum on Trump. The general election is a referendum on Trump.
He has learned. So have the pros in Washington. If you do not think these cats are talking to Hillary and the Democrats, I have some nice beach-front property for you in Swampland.