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Can Giuliani Turn it Around?

Polls forecast a tough road to the nomination for Republican Rudy Giuliani.(Getty Images).

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.

By Web Politics Editor  |  January 23, 2008; 5:54 PM ET
Categories:  The Pollster  
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You know, I've posted the "Giuliani challenge" on several websites, and guess what? So far, no takers!

In other words, there appear to be two kinds of people out there - those who passionately support Rudy - and those who hate him. I'm finally starting to get it - lots of bigots out there can't wrap their puny brains around the idea that Rudy is Italian-American, and that he's running for President. THAT'S the source of all this hatred!

Ron Paulians aside (and good for you, at least you're passionate in your support for your candidate, and express it), I ask again: WHY are you supporting Curly, Larry, or Moe over the fiscal conservative, social moderate, mainstream Republican reflecting, highly electable Rudy? "Where's the beef?" It seems you're passionate in your hatred of Italian-Americans, but what makes you so passionate about electing somebody else?

Posted by: josephsans | January 24, 2008 6:41 PM | Report abuse

All you have to do is look at Rudy's face in Florida after he got the latest poll results. He looked like a whipped puppy.

Since Romney is unelectable in November, it looks like it will be McCain v. Obama - since it looks like the Clinton Dynasty is self-destructing. There is no hope this year for people from Hope, since Bill is dragging Hillary down the drain right into the sewer.

Posted by: alance | January 24, 2008 11:46 AM | Report abuse

No true "conservative" allows racist swill to be published in a newsletter under his name.

Posted by: JakeD | January 24, 2008 11:00 AM | Report abuse

Hey Washington Post- Why no mention of Dr. Ron Paul in these Poll Results or your other election coverage?

Congressman Ron Paul has beat Rudy in almost every Caucus and Primary so far and he is the only reasonable Republican in the race.

Brief Overview of Congressman Paul's Record:

He has never voted to raise taxes.
He has never voted for an unbalanced budget.
He has never voted for a federal restriction on gun ownership.
He has never voted to raise congressional pay.
He has never taken a government-paid junket.
He has never voted to increase the power of the executive branch.

He voted against the Patriot Act.
He voted against regulating the Internet.
He voted against the Iraq war.

On every issue Ron Paul is the true conservative.

Oh yeah - he's been married to the same woman over 50 years and delivered over 4,000 babies so he also happens to be a good person.

Posted by: lincolnwhite | January 24, 2008 8:56 AM | Report abuse

With Florida just a few days away, I have to admit that I'm worried that Rudy's strategy may not pay off. I'd like to issue a challenge to folks who support Romney, Huckabee and McCain: please let me know WHY you support these guys?

Here's why I support Giuliani: he's a "supply side" fiscal conservative with a consistent history of tax cutting and reviving moribund economies; he's a social moderate, which means he's focused on the important issues (the economy and the war on terror); he's got a record of succeeding despite long odds (e.g., taking on the mob, and turning NYC around); he speaks my language when it comes to understanding the Islamic threat (he threw Yasser Arafat out of Lincoln Center, and spit in the eye of a Saudi prince who suggested 9/11 was OUR fault). Despite what many people say on these blogs, ALL New Yorkers turned to Rudy for strength, inspiration, and leadership on the worst day in American history.

Put all this together - well, that's why I support Rudy. There's nothing you can say that will make me budge in my beliefs, above - I've heard it all! So, my question is - what can you tell me about the remaining candidates that somehow supercedes the reasons for why I support Rudy? I honestly don't see why I would support Huckabee (social ultra-conservative, economic liberal); Romney (economic liberal, social flip-flopper); and McCain (economically problematic re: tax cuts; immigration policies aren't good; social moderate, so that's ok; Washington "insider" - I see that as a negative.)

But you see my problem? Line up the candidates on the policies that are important to me, and it's not even close! Tell me why I'm wrong (and please, don't use the word "change" in your response, and don't post the same old anti-Giuliani talking points. AND, please let me (us) know which candidate you support.

Posted by: josephsans | January 24, 2008 3:43 AM | Report abuse

Guiliani needs to step out of the race, he's not getting anything. He is just appearing very ridiculous running. Or you know what on second thought, let him keep pummping money into the economy it needs it.

Posted by: summerlluvia | January 24, 2008 2:16 AM | Report abuse


Are you supporting Romney or Huckabee, then, who each ran States?


Did you see all the PRE-9/11 info I posted on Rudy above? That was right from his campaign web site.

Posted by: JakeD | January 24, 2008 12:51 AM | Report abuse

Giuliani is stuck back in 2004 running the same old tired "9-11/terror" campaign.
He thinks if he keeps screaming 9-11 loud enough that the rest of us will forget all about how he carried on an all-expenses paid public affair with his girlfriend while his wife hid at home in shame.

Posted by: chasemonster | January 24, 2008 12:23 AM | Report abuse

Rudy is not even a real Republican! Rather, he is a Liberal Democrat dressed up in moderate clothing.
Sure, Mayor Rudy can talk all day about the tax-cut that he seeks to propose and how he will be strong on national defense once he is in the White House, but his emphasis on these positions does not erase his democrat views.
First, he is PRO-CHOICE.
Second, he champions the expansion of gay-rights in every area.
Third, he made N.Y. a "sactuary city" for illegal immigrants.
This may be all that one can definitely conclude from his record as mayor. But the fact that this has been the only real political position that he has held calls into question the two "conservative" issues that he spends all of his time talking about.
Is a mayor really capable of handling complex foreign relations? And is a mayor able to say that because his tax plan worked for a city, it will work for the federal government?
It is true that, as mayor, Rudy has executive experience. But running a city's economy, even one of a large city, cannot be considered the same as running a state!
Hopefully, FL voters have become tired of him talking their ears off while his fellow candidates campaigned in other states. Rudy does not deserve to win FL. In fact, he does not deserve to win anything - as a Republican!

Posted by: mesmert | January 24, 2008 12:19 AM | Report abuse

The level of hatred for Giuliani is apparent by the fact that only one poll from 1.22.08 is mentioned, where he's down to 15%. The other poll from the same day actually has him beating Romney, and only down three to McCain. But in the end it's all about who the mainstream media likes (ie The New York Times and The Washington Post). Otherwise, McCain would have retired by now.

Posted by: mfpalmeri | January 23, 2008 11:23 PM | Report abuse

The Democrats will loose the US Senate and the Presidency this fall. Remember under the Clintons, from 1994 to 2000 the Democrats failed to keep the US House, the US Senate and most of the Governorships in the US. Right now, Democrats are nostaligic about the Clinton years. When the reality settles in the fall of 2008, people will not want to go back to the forgetable aspects of the 1990s. Democrats in the South, West, Mid West, and parts of the Northeast will go up flames with Clinton at the top of the ticket. The competitive races for the State House seats and federal office will be about the Clintons. Democrats will suffer a national blood bath this fall. I like Hillary and Obama. Our party is set up for disaster this fall. Tony from Upstate New York

Posted by: titus | January 23, 2008 10:55 PM | Report abuse

Campaigning on the slogan "One City, One Standard," Giuliani focused on reducing crime, reforming welfare and improving the quality of life -- do you remember that --in 1997, he was re-elected with 57% in a city in which Democrats outnumbered Republicans five to one.

Under Giuliani's leadership, overall crime was cut by 56%, murder was cut by 66%, and New York City -- once considered the crime capital of the country -- became the safest large city in America according to the FBI. New York City's law enforcement strategy has become a model for other cities around the world, particularly the CompStat program, which won the 1996 Innovations in Government Award from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

When Giuliani took office, one of every seven New Yorkers was on welfare. He implemented the largest and most successful welfare-to-work initiative in the country, turning welfare offices into Job Centers, leading to the reduction of welfare rolls by 640,000, or nearly 60%, to the lowest level since 1966.

Giuliani also took decisive steps to restore fiscal responsibility to New York City, reducing or eliminating 23 city taxes while turning an inherited $2.3 billion budget deficit into a multi-billion dollar surplus. These reforms helped lead New York City to an era of broad-based growth, with approximately 423,000 new private sector jobs created in eight years, as business returned to the center of city life. As news of the New York renaissance spread around the nation and the world, tourism grew to record levels. Under Rudy Giuliani's leadership, New York City became the best-known example of the resurgence of urban America.

He deserves SOME credit for all that -- even pre-9/11 -- don't you think?

Posted by: JakeD | January 23, 2008 9:56 PM | Report abuse

Oh, so you are saying he was not "arrogant, selfish, disrespectful" etc. BEFORE he was re-elected? Come on, we all knew that. Seems to me that plenty of New Yorkers re-elected him nonetheless -- he did turn the City around -- are you saying Rudy gets no credit for the lower crime, etc.?

Posted by: JakeD | January 23, 2008 9:53 PM | Report abuse

Jake D, after 9:11 Giuliani was not not re-elected.

Posted by: nicky682 | January 23, 2008 9:47 PM | Report abuse


If New Yorkers couldn't wait to get rid of Giuliani, how was he re-elected?

Posted by: JakeD | January 23, 2008 9:39 PM | Report abuse

No, I am not kidding "Seeclear". We haven't even had 8 years of war, but no, if we haven't won, then 8 years is obviously not enough -- that should be a GIVEN for any true American -- I do have some follow-up questions for you:

1) What's your definition of "economic disaster"?

2) Do you have any degrees in economics?

3) You are aware that the United States of America has the largest economy of ANY nation on earth, right?

4) Using your definition, why do you think Rudy will be an "economic disaster" for the U.S.?

5) Why do you think Hillary Clinton's socialism will not be an "economic disaster" for the U.S.?

Posted by: JakeD | January 23, 2008 9:37 PM | Report abuse

No one should be surprise at where Giuliani stands right now. I guess him being in the spotlight now show the rest of the country what New Yorkers knew all along. The man is arrogant, selfish, disrespectful just name it. before 9:11 New Yorkers couldn't wait to get rid of that man. A man that dumped his wife on the steps of city hall during a news conference, always picking a fight with everyone and any part of the city he did not win he behaved as though it did not exist. one piece of advise to Giuliani please take your fake self and the fame you claim from 911 and sell to the highest bidder as you were for the past couple of years.

Posted by: nicky682 | January 23, 2008 9:32 PM | Report abuse

Don't think the media is biased? The Strategic Vision poll, taken during the same period of time, has it McCain 25, Giuliani 22, Romney 20 -- a statistical tie, which is in accordance with basically every other poll. Why doesn't Jon Cohen mention that poll? The St. Petersburg Times is an outlier, the only one showing any real gap among the top three, yet that's the one that gets all the attention. The media is anti-Giuliani, and wants to emphasize anything that makes him look bad.

Posted by: woocane | January 23, 2008 8:17 PM | Report abuse

Jake you're kidding right? What will it take for people to stop supporting these idiots. Has not eight years of war, lying and economic disaster been enough? The Soviets in their heyday couldn't have done a better job of destroying this country.

Posted by: Seeclear | January 23, 2008 8:11 PM | Report abuse

the polls don't lie, but are not scientific.

mccains amnesty bill is killing him in florida.

toss up between rudy and romney.

Posted by: bryanmeek | January 23, 2008 7:40 PM | Report abuse

My concern, esmerelda123, is if Hillary Clinton gets the Dem nomination -- maybe Rudy is the only GOP candidate with a chance of putting NY and CA into play?

Posted by: JakeD | January 23, 2008 7:22 PM | Report abuse

Is anyone seriously surprised at these numbers? I pray that Giuliani fails to turn it around. Best news for February will be his departure from the race.

Posted by: esmerelda123 | January 23, 2008 6:45 PM | Report abuse

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