I know I have not done a polling update in a long time on here, but I think it might be good to give my readers a general idea of what national opinion looks like at the moment, along with some commentary below. Here it is:
Rasmussen Daily Tracking Poll – September 28, 2007
Fred Thompson – 24%
Rudy Giuliani – 22%
Mitt Romney – 12%
John McCain – 9%
Mike Huckabee – 7%
Fred Thompson:When Fred Thompson officially entered, it looked like he was going to blow away the competition. Within the first two days of his candidacy, Thompson had passed Giuliani and gained the support of nearly 30% of the Republican electorate. Since then, however, his campaign – much like his pre-announcement run – has been a tangled mess of embarrassing mistakes, poor answers to questions posed by reporters, and a kind of clarify-reclarify waltz regarding remarks he made concerning UBL. The future direction of Thompson’s support – be it up or down – could very well be decided within the next two weeks. The Q3 fundraising deadline, as well as Thompson’s first debate early next month, could very well determine exactly where the Thompson campaign goes from here.
Rudy Giuliani: Although he is no longer the undisputed frontrunner in the Republican Primary race, Giuliani is still in a fairly comfortable position. He leads in most other national polls, and still holds onto leads in big states such as New York and California. While winning these states will not even come close to handing him the nomination, they could be, if all else fails, a fall-back plan to give Rudy a chance if the race is not determined before the convention.
All that said, Rudy still faces many challenges. At the present time, the GOP electorate is still overwhelmingly ignorant about Giuliani’s liberal stance on abortion, and, with a Republican party that opposes abortion by at least a 2-1 ratio, he is virtually guaranteed to take a hit once people learn where he stands. He also faces a Romney problem: with Mitt leading in all but two early states, and Rudy himself in a fight to keep Florida in his column, how does he stop “mittmentum” from being the death of his candidacy? To be honest, I don’t think there is an easy answer to that question. There are basically two states that Rudy could use to attempt to stop Mitt, each with its own advantages and risks, and that will be the topic of my next post.
Mitt Romney:The last couple of weeks have been anything but easy for the Romney campaign, between the Thompson bump, fundraising efforts, and a closer New Hampshire race, Romney has had no time to put his feet up. Unfortunately, thanks to a bad cold he picked up on the campaign trail, that is exactly what he will be doing this weekend. Its a good thing too, because, while national polls are once again showing Romney gains, and the end of Q3 will allow him more time to campaign, the New Hampshire numbers do not look like they are going correct themselves. While not even close to being a reason for panic, he is going to have to go back to the Granite State to make sure he has a strong enough base there, allowing him to focus on improving in other areas. Romney is still a great candidate in a great position – he simply can’t let it get away.
John McCain: Around the same time that Thompson took a wave of support all the way to the top of the polls, John McCain also improved – owing largely, in my opinion, to a better-than-expected (and better-than-usual) debate performance. Unfortunately for him, he is back to being a kind of after-thought, and with poor fundraising numbers expected to be released soon, he is going to have to deal with another round of negative press. Weather or not John McCain will have the resources to continue even a limited, early state strategy remains to be seen.
Mike Huckabee:Huckabee has showed signs of moving up in the polls – now roughly where Romney was in January – but there are three factors, that, in my opinion, will prevent Huckabee from becoming a real top-tier candidate. The first is time. While he is improving, he has now only three months to give himself some position of power that could allow him to win. Iowa is really the only place where this opportunity exists, and even there the opportunity is minimal. The second factor is cash. While Huckabee has some good ideas, it takes more than good ideas to win the nomination – it takes money. And money, unfortunately for him, is something he lacks. The third factor is some criticism (and in some cases, a little more than criticism) that he is a weak-on-immigration, nanny-stater. These positions, where he puts-obesity on par with terrorism, and calls opponents of illegal immigration “mean spirited”, would likely derail his candidacy in states outside of the South. Huckabee is a good guy, and he has done a good job, but I really don’t see him making significantly improving his standing.