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Frank Luntz's Well-informed Focus Group

Fox News had a Frank Luntz focus group on just now after tonight's Republican debate. One of the participants actually just said, "You might say South Carolina is like the Dixville Notch of America." Aside from the fact that this analogy doesn't make much sense (wouldn't it be, you know, New Hampshire or Iowa?), are there that many actual, ordinary voters who know what the significance of Dixville Notch is? Isn't it just political junkies? Makes you sort of wonder (again) where he's getting his focus-group participants...

For what it's worth, everyone seems to agree that Fred Thompson had a great night. I sort of doubt it's even possible for Fred to resurrect his candidacy at this point, but if he does somehow manage to win South Carolina, I think it would really benefit...Rudy Giuliani. The biggest problem with Rudy's otherwise-brilliant Ohio State strategy (wait on the sidelines while everyone else loses and then rise to the top of the polls--sorry, Ezra) is that there aren't enough Pittsburghs and Oklahomas in the Republican race to knock off the favorites: anytime one candidate loses, another has to win, and the risk for Rudy is that someone (either McCain or Huckabee) will win both Michigan and South Carolina and there will be a genuine frontrunner by the time Florida rolls around. If Fred comes out of nowhere to South Carolina, the result would be chaos, and in that scenario it's at least possible to see Rudy winning Florida with 25-30 percent of the vote, doing well on Super Tuesday, and stumbling into the nomination.

--Josh Patashnik