Can Giuliani Turn it Around?
By Jon Cohen
New polls out of Florida and California, the biggest Super Tuesday prize, show a steep uphill climb for Rudy Giuliani in his quest for the GOP nod.
The just released St. Petersburg Times survey has Giuliani at just 15 percent in Florida, tied with Mike Huckabee, and trailing both John McCain (at 25 percent) and Mitt Romney (23 percent). The Times' November poll had Giuliani in front of Romney by nearly 2 to 1. And the former mayor has dipped in all Sunshine State polls repeated since that time.
Giuliani's fall in California has been similarly pronounced. A Field poll out today puts his support at 11 percent among likely GOP voters, down from 25 percent a month ago. As in Florida, Huckabee scores as high as Giuliani, and both peer upwards at McCain (22 percent) and Romney (18 percent).
In the Golden State, Giuliani has slipped 11 points since December among "strong" conservatives, and 17 points among more moderate or liberal Republicans. He is down 12 points in Southern California and 18 points in Northern California.
The new polls mark a setback for the Giuliani campaign, which premised his candidacy on strong showings in Florida and in delegate-rich Feb. 5 states believed more receptive to his brand of Republicanism than Iowa, New Hampshire or South Carolina. (Following back-of-the-pack results in early voting, the former mayor also lost the lead he had held in national polls for the better part of the year.)
At the same time, much remains in flux and a large percentage of California Republicans, 21 percent, remain undecided about how they would vote if the election were held today. In the Times' Florida poll, 13 percent were undecided.
Posted at 5:54 PM ET on Jan 23, 2008
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