The Trail: A Daily Diary of Campaign 2008


Giuliani's Pollster Says He's Still Very Much in the Race

By Michael D. Shear
Ed Goeas wants everyone to know that Rudy Giuliani is doing just fine.

With the former mayor suffering from flu symptoms so severe he spent Wednesday night in a St. Louis hospital, Goeas, Giuliani's pollster, reassured reporters Wednesday that the former New York mayor is still very much in the Republican presidential race.

That he found it necessary to do so is a testament to the situation Giuliani finds himself in, with a campaign relegated to the role of sideshow as rivals Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee and John McCain battle for the next month, largely without him.

Huckabee, the former governor of Arkansas, is leading Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, in a two-man battle for Iowa. Romney is ahead of McCain, Arizona's senior senator, in a two-man race in New Hampshire. Giuliani is nowhere to be seen in either state.

In fact, Giuliani's communication team released his post-Christmas schedule this week: He will spend the first three days after Christmas in Florida, thousands of miles away from Iowa and New Hampshire.

But in an interview Wednesday night, Goeas said all of that is beside the point.

"The game is different this year," he said. "We still like the game we're playing."

That game is a waiting one. Giuliani is waiting until the first several contests are over, hoping that no one will run away with the race until Florida holds its primary on Jan. 29.

"We did our probing in New Hampshire and we're going to continue to probe in New Hampshire," said Goeas. "We've been very clear about the fact that our strategy is Florida. The rules just don't apply. That's what people don't understand."

On Wednesday, the Wall Street Journal and NBC released a national poll which showed Giuliani and Romney tied at 20 percent, followed closely by Huckabee at 17. The headline on most stories about the poll used the word "plummets" in connection with Giuliani's numbers.

But Goeas dismissed the poll, saying that he prefers to pay attention to the average of the last several polls, which he said still puts Giuliani ahead by several points.

He said the former mayor is still strong in many of the states that will vote on Feb. 5, potentially giving him 40 percent of the delegates that will be needed to win the Republican nomination.

The question is whether one of his rivals picks up such a head of steam that it doesn't really matter what the polls say about Giuliani by the time Florida rolls around.

We should know the answer to that question soon.

Posted at 10:46 AM ET on Dec 20, 2007
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And what's jmroberts1979 to do if Rudy and Hillary are the nominees for their party? Vote for a third party as a protest even though he doesn't really support them? Not vote at all? able to vote no against the one he despises the most without having to indicate support for the other? No system is perfect but a no column would let him express his view more closely than a yes only ballot. I'm for giving him the 50% of freedom of expression on the ballot or poll the yes only ballot denies him and, I'll wager, most everyone else at one time or another whether I agree with him or not. The only way to protect my right to vote as I wish is to protect his. That's the messiness of democracy.

Posted by: Valjean1 | December 21, 2007 4:20 PM

In my ignorance I ask...both caucuses and elections choose delegates to the national conventions, at least I assume that. So, what are the differences, legal, registration, taxpayer paid or by the individual parties, etc. Do the parties have to have their caucus on the same day? Do they have to vote in a specific place relative to their address like elections? One inquiring dummy mind would like to know.

Posted by: Valjean1 | December 21, 2007 4:08 PM

And we still have the situation where many, maybe a result changing many, would prefer to vote against, in a NO column, the one they oppose more than they support any other. The nighest net yes wins. Many comments refer to being afraid of "A" getting elected. Even if you don't agree with their position it should be their right to cast a vote that reflects it. Requiring them to vote FOR another as a surrogate for their real opinion just hides reality. Why can't we vote no if we mean no?

Posted by: Valjean1 | December 21, 2007 1:43 PM

the 1992 caucus was ceremonial because George HW Bush ran basically unopposed on the Republican side while Senator Harkin of Iowa ran as the favorite son so all the Democrats skipped Iowa to campaign in New Hampshire.

Posted by: labrat94720 | December 20, 2007 5:59 PM

Guiliani and Clinton both seem to be employing a rope-a-dope strategy in the early contests; both -- maybe Guiliani more than Clinton -- are looking past Iowa and NH, and hoping that national popularity pays dividends later. I hate to say this, because I despise them both, but it may pay off.

In previous election cycles, losses in Iowa and New Hampshire could leave a campaign low on cash and trailing in the polls heading into the subsequent primaries -- those IA and NH results had some time to sink in with voters in the next states.

This year though, with all the states trying to out-Iowa Iowa (to paraphrase Tancredo), losers in the first two contests won't have to sustain their spending or poll numbers very long before the third primary. Michigan is just a few days after NH, right?

I'm also kind of struck by how important the Iowa caucuses have become. The first election I can remember really paying attention to was the 1992 election, and the press described the caucuses as esoteric, sparsely-attended, and therefore largely ceremonial. New Hampshire was unquestionably the main event. Can anybody enlighten me as to when and why that changed?

Posted by: jmroberts1979 | December 20, 2007 3:27 PM

srk052004 writes, in response to river845
"A sociopath has no values except self-advancement. Anyone think of the Clintons, perhaps, as closer to that mark?"

I think you're both right. We can do better than Giuliani or Clinton.

Is it really too much to ask that a President have a moral base & behave ethically?

Posted by: bsimon | December 20, 2007 1:12 PM

"Giuliani's Pollster Says He's Still Very Much in the Race"

This would be news if his pollster said he's NOT very much in the race. As it stands, its more of a 'dog bites man' story.

Though I do find it strange that a pollster is averaging polls. He should be analyzing the trends - which are not in Giuliani's favor - rather than taking an average in order to make the numbers look good.

Posted by: bsimon | December 20, 2007 1:09 PM

We won't really know who is ahead with support or by default until the ballots and polls include a no column and the highest net yes wins. Having to say you want parsnips to say you don't want broccoli doesn't really mean you want parsnips. But that's what the yes only ballots and polls demand. It's time the 50% restriction on voter freedom of expression be removed by the addition of an honest vote be able to say no when you mean no without having to say yes. Many voters are convinced who they don't want in office regardless of who else is. They should be able to register that.

Posted by: Valjean1 | December 20, 2007 12:37 PM

I should point out that river845 is typical of the Kos Kidz in the Democratic Party.

Giuliani a sociopath? Oh please. He is a law-and-order conservative who, oddly enough, is pro-gay and pro-choice. This is why he terrifies the Kos Kidz so much. Hillary embraced Suha Arafat (the wife of Yasser); Giuliani sent Yasser packing when he strayed from UN (and thus international) grounds. A sociopath has no values except self-advancement. Anyone think of the Clintons, perhaps, as closer to that mark?

What's typically Kos, by the way, is river845's sudden affection for "family values" in order to attack Rudy. Again, what nonsense from those who voted twice for Bill. At least have some integrity and consistency in your values, whatever they are.

Posted by: srk052004 | December 20, 2007 12:05 PM

Truly it really is hard to take Rudy's current "woes" seriously. Rudy is extremely well known, with his positives & negatives an open book. Huckabee, as a reader elsewhere in the blogosphere pointed out, is a king flip-flopper and hardly a conservative. He also is not intellectually competent enough to bring conservative reform even if he were a conservative. He is poorly known, and if the conservative media continue to do their job, he will lose steam rapidly, as his support derives from the mistaken view that he is the only real conservative in the race. Romney actually is competent.

Giuliani absolutely should expect to run an unusual campaign because these are unusual times, and the candidates this time are an unusual bunch. Giuliani, if people will recall, was supposed to be impossible as a Republican candidate.

If Huckabee actual wins the nomination, Hillary will defeat him fairly easily, as it will be clear that she is actually more serious on terrorism issues than he is, and plenty of Dems who would vote for Giuliani over Hillary on this issue will vote for Hillary over Huckabee.

Mark my words.

Posted by: srk052004 | December 20, 2007 11:48 AM

It was just a matter of time before the weight of all the corruption of Guiliani caught up with him.

You can run but you cannot hide behind 9/11.

Guiliani is a truly dangerous man: a Bush with brain,s who, if allowed to occupy the Oval Office, would disgrace it, and endanger humanity.

Guiliani approves of torture, and seems without a conscience: a true sociopath-cheating on his wife, using his children, advocating torture, and showing no remorse for anything.

He is a sociopath, and people need to protect themselves from him. Thankfully they are. Another poll today shows him nationally at 13%, in fourth place. Hopefully he will drop behind Thompson as well, and drop out of the race.

He is a disgrace to the Republican party-if that is still possible to shame such a party.

Posted by: river845 | December 20, 2007 11:38 AM

Heee's BACK!

Staggering into the room, wheezing, hacking, and coughing!!!!

Doing his part to get out and Press some Flesh, Kiss some Babies, and just in general spread some of that Christmas Spirit! The Kind that just keeps on giving!

It Ruthie Giuliani and Friends!

Did he get a chance to up close and personal with you yet?


NOW, how do you really feel about Medical Spending?

Posted by: rat-the | December 20, 2007 11:19 AM

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