Rudy’s Polls (plus his free pass from the media)

Rudy Giuliani's strategy of risking is all on a stand in Florida never seemed to have too much chance of success, but the latest polls suggest that his campaign is done for.  Via pollster.com:

POLL: ARG Florida Primary

A new American Research Group Florida survey (conducted 1/20 through 1/21) finds:

  • 600 Likely Republican Primary Voters (± 4%)

    29 McCain

    22 Romney

    17 Huckabee

    16 Giuliani

    6 Thompson

    6 Paul

    1 Keyes

    3 Undecided

Furthermore, this pre-South Carolina primay analysis by Political Scientist Charles Franklin, clearly makes the case for Rudy's death spiral.  In short, McCain has directly benefitted from Rudy's fall:

After leading in national polls throughout the first three quarters,
Giuliani's support took a sharp turn downward in the late fall, closely
associated with the timing of the indictment November 8th of his long
time friend, partner and associate, Bernard Kerik. (I also think
failing to compete in early primaries, and then doing quite badly, is a
contributing recent cause of Giuliani's decline. Late win strategies do
not have a good track record… ask John Connally.)

McCain's rise comes after Giuliani's decline begins. Given that both
candidates appeal more to moderate and somewhat conservative
Republicans (as opposed to the conservative base of the party) it is
likely that these voters turned from Giuliani and found McCain the most
attractive among the remainder of the field.

McCain also shares with Giuliani the advantage of perceived
“electability”. As Giuliani's fortunes fell, McCain emerged as the
candidate Republicans see as having the best chance of defeating any
Democrat in November. In primaries, perceived viability is an important
asset.

As we watch the death throes of Rudy's campaign, I do have to mention one thing that really annoys me.  He actually tried really hard in NH, only leaving that state when the polls refused to budge in his favor despite his efforts.  Yet, pretty much every media report is giving his sad 4th place (and only 9%) finish in NH a free pass and is following the Giuliani campaign spin that Florida is actually the first primary he is seriously contesting.  Anyway, looks like it will be a moot point if the new polls in Florida are at all accurate. 

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About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State http://faculty.chass.ncsu.edu/shgreene

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