Great catch by James Pindell, digging inside a new AARP poll:
Likely Republican voters were asked how familiar they were the healthcare plans of all their candidates, even including non-candidate Fred Thompson.
The results? In Nevada 29 percent said they were familiar with Thompson's healthcare plan. In New Hampshire it was 15 percent, in Iowa 18 percent, in Florida it was 22 percent and in South Carolina had 24 percent with some idea about his plan.
Thompson makes no reference to healthcare in his short stump speeches and has yet to even enter the race much less offer a healthcare plan.
Nonetheless voters in these states told the pollsters at Woelfel Research, Inc that they were more familiar with Fred Thompson's healthcare plan than they were of Tommy Thompson, Tom Tancredo, Ron Paul, Duncan Hunter, Mike Huckabee and Sam Brownback.
AARP theorizes that Republicans "could be making up their minds about the candidate and the issue from years before." But I don't think Thompson has ever had a serious plan for health care reform. He's harrumphed a couple of radio commentaries on the subject but they've been facile stuff—Ezra Klein fisked one without breaking a sweat.
Obviously Thompson's appeal never had (yeah, I'll use past tense) anything to do with his ideas or plans. It was about his larynx and pineal gland. This is pretty solid evidence of the non-emphasis voters place on grand schemes and the priority they put on feeling good about a candidate.
Start your day with Reason. Get a daily brief of the most important stories and trends every weekday morning when you subscribe to Reason Roundup.