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Romney, Rudy and the Electability Question

To listen to former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani on the stump, it would be easy to think that he is already running against New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D). Giuliani invokes Clinton at every turn -- criticizing her policies and insisting that he alone can keep her out of the White House in 2008.

The reason is simple: Giuliani knows he isn't the first choice of many within his own party who see him as insufficiently conservative, especially on social issues. But, he also knows that those same voters fear another Clinton administration far more than they mistrust him. So, by turning the Republican primary into a choice of which candidate is best able to keep Clinton out of the White House, Giuliani has largely avoided significant scrutiny of his own record.

Former Gov. Mitt Romney, Hizzoner's main rival for the Republican presidential nod, is sick of it. And, in a memo from his campaign provided to The Fix late last week, the Romney camp argues that Giuliani's electability argument is thin gruel -- and getting thinner.

The memo shows the aggregate of head-to-head Clinton-Giuliani polling on a month-by-month basis. In January Giuliani averaged 48.4 percent of the vote to Clinton's 45.6 percent and maintained that lead for the next three months. But in May Giuliani led Clinton on average by a narrow 46.3 percent to 45 percent margin; by June the margin was infinitesimal -- 45.7 percent for Giuliani to 45.6 percent for Clinton.

[CAVEAT: Many professional pollsters cringe at the idea of averaging numbers from different surveys. It is not a statistically valid or scientific method of measuring candidate support. BUT it does provide a interesting, bird's-eye snapshot of all the different polls.]

In the intervening months the two candidates' trends line have crossed with Clinton springing to a two point lead in July, a three point lead in August and a five point lead in September. Giuliani bounced back slightly last month, cutting Clinton's average lead to 47-43.

"Staking your candidacy on the amorphous idea of 'electability' when Republican voters are yearning for ideas and a return to conservative principles says a lot about the weakness of the mayor's argument," said Romney spokesman Kevin Madden. "The mayor's social positions and his weak record on immigration enforcement in New York City make him indistinguishable from Senator Clinton."

Madden also suggested that nominating Giuliani could depress the Republican party base and "have a negative effect on many down-ballot races in 'red' states across the country." That is, Republican voters may either stay home or defect to a more conservative third party option if Giuliani is the candidate -- a development that could lead to underperformances that could hamper candidates running for Senate, House and local offices in reliably GOP states.

That seems a bit far-fetched to us; if Clinton is the Democratic nominee, Republican base voters are likely to turn out in droves to vote against her no matter who is opposing her.

Regardless, the fact that Romney is now going after one of the pillars of Giuliani's candidacy bears a closer inspection.

While it's true that Giuliani's numbers have faltered against Clinton in recent months, he remains the strongest of the Republican field against her.

According to Real Clear Politics, which keeps a rolling track of hypothetical general election matchups, Rudy trails Clinton by 3.2 percent on average. That compares favorably to Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) who trails Clinton by five points, former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson (7.5 points) and Romney (11.2 points).

That larger picture is mirrored in the latest data as well. In a Quinnipiac University poll conducted late last month, Giuliani led Clinton 45 percent to43 percent; Romney, on the other hand, trailed the New York Senator 48 percent to 38 percent.

"Unless I missed something, Romney's memo still shows that Mayor Giuliani is the only Republican candidate who is competitive with Hillary Clinton in the general," said Giuliani spokeswoman Maria Comella. "Maybe they should try writing a memo about Mitt Romney's numbers stacked up to Hillary Clinton's -- it would be a short memo."

Rhetoric aside, Giuliani is widely seen as the lone candidate running for president (with the possible exception of Sen. Barack Obama) capable of growing the number of battleground states. Giuliani would likely make New Jersey and Pennsylvania -- to name two states -- more competitive than they might be without the former New York City Mayor leading the Republican ticket.

What is really at issue here is whether Republican primary and caucus voters will vote with their heart or their head early next year.

Giuliani is clearly the head choice; his moderate stances on social issues make him palatable to independent and moderate voters and he remains inextricably linked (in a positive way) to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

Much of Giuliani's rise and continued success is tied into the fact that there is no obvious heart candidate in the field. Romney is doing his damndest to be just that -- espousing conservative positions on nearly every hot button issue -- but his past statements on things like abortion and gay rights make it a tough sell. Thompson was thought to be the heart candidate for the conservative base of the party but his campaign has sputtered since the beginning and voters may well be losing faith.

With the specter of Clinton on the horizon, Republican voters may well opt for pragmatism in a nominee. But, they should heed well the lessons of history. Remember in 2004 when Democrats turned away from heart candidate Howard Dean and instead nominated head candidate John Kerry? We all know how that turned out.

By Chris Cillizza  |  November 5, 2007; 2:45 PM ET
Categories:  Eye on 2008  
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Next: Edwards's Loss, Shaheen's Gain

Comments

It's hard to miss the obvious disdain both McCain and Giuliani aim at Mitt. Given their own personal (multiple failed marriages) and political (now McCain is against amnesty?) hypocrisy it can only reflect the threat Mitt poses to their campaigns. Giuliani has oft said that he would vote for McCain if he himself weren't running which is ridiculous since he clearly doesn't see McCain as a threat. The fact is that they (and much of the Republican establishment) resent Mitt for his success outside of their control. He is not an insider and without any skeletons to exploit, he will be that much more difficult to manipulate. He is not beholden to any lobbyists, and he is (ick) a family-centric Mormon. How dare he think he can just waltz in get away with it! What could this mean to those precious earmarks and pork-barrel projects? They've tried to undermine him throughout -- let's hope Republicans vote for the guy with the best mind for the job, the best leadership experience, and who can actually set an example for our politicians.

Posted by: Brucer1 | November 6, 2007 6:52 PM | Report abuse

junglejohn writes:

"I distinctly recall Mitt immediately speaking out AGAINST the bill the morning after it had been announced that "a comprehensive bipartisan immigration reform deal had been reached." I also recall waiting to hear from Rudy at the time on his position, but it never came. Now I understand his silence."

That is absolutely the truth. Mitt Romney came out pointedly against it.

Rudy came out with some vague statement that didn't even address the issue.

Posted by: USMC_Mike | November 6, 2007 1:02 PM | Report abuse

I didn't read the entire thread, and have skipped out the last couple days.

I just want to weigh in that Mike Huckabee could be considered the conservative's "heart candidate".

I had been predicting a Romney/Huckabee (or Huckabee/Romney) ticket as early as June '07 -- I still think it's possible.

Fred is a dud.

I will not vote for Rudy - not because I think he's insane on Iran, but because I don't believe compramising values to win an election is a viable long-term solution.

Posted by: USMC_Mike | November 6, 2007 12:56 PM | Report abuse

>>"Giuliani's electibility is a myth.

>>1) He cannot beat Hillary in fundamentally blue states

>>2) He will lose the grassroots machine of the values conservatives. It's not his "Country Club" or "Wall Street" Republican friends from NYC and SF who do the hard work of grassroots organizing. And without the ground game, he will not be able to win in the purple states."

I tend to agree with this assessment, Principal. I can see where Giuliani will run alongside Hillary, but now how he would overtake her. And whilst you do have a 'anybody but Hillary' crowd, that crowd is hardly inspired by Giuliani. To my mind, that matchup either leaves us with a multiparty election or the lowest voter turnout in history.

mibrooks, I'm not a Republican voter, but I'm going to tackle your question anyway, as I do style myself as a conservative independent and on the national level tend to go Red (very different on state and local level, but that's another story).

Like you, I would content that Huckabee and McCain have the best shot at the national election. Thompson's not going to cut it, you just read my thoughts on Giuliani, and whilst Romney may have a shot with the Republican base, I am convinced that all the arguments which brought down John Kerry would effectively sink Mitt.

I appreciated the old McCain. I could, perhaps, get behind his revival. But after the past several years I find it hard to work up much enthusiasm for it.

Huckabee, on the other hand...Huckabee I could get excited about. (Am, in fact, getting excited about.) He's got a solid record. He's an Washington outsider who will cross party lines (which this country needs). He's willing to challenge Bush and break with the Republican party politics. I'm thrilled when he goes on about the arts in education, when he encourages compassion in the immigration debate, when he endorses children's health insurance. I'm not sold on the FairTax, but I appreciate the sentiment behind it -- the acknowledgement that we have a seriously deformed tax system and need a radical fix. I want a candidate who is pro-life. And as icing on the cake (and a handy general election plus), he's likeable and funny, quick on his feet, articulate, and presents an image of integrity. I could do without his opposition to gun control and homosexual civil unions, and I'm still wildly conflicted on Iraq, but no candidate will ever be perfect.

On the Dem side, I could get excited about Obama. I'd like to be excited about Obama.

So we'll see what happens in the general.

Posted by: Skip_Lively | November 6, 2007 12:14 PM | Report abuse

"But I don't know when or how or why there was an imperiled presidency. Seriously, when was that?"

drindl- After the Nixon presidency there was a such a reaction -- and it was natural -- to the scandal of Watergate that the Congress passed all sorts of laws to tie up the president, to make sure he couldn't break the bounds of the Constitution again.

Cheney was highly influenced by this chain of events while he was a young staffer, he witnessed firsthand the legislators passing all sorts of laws and regulations to make sure that will never happen again.

But they also make sure nothing else will ever happen, either. The Carter presidency continued this imperiled, less effective chief executive mode. And Cheney, who had grown more disillusioned with Congress as a result of working there, was bound and determined to restore presidential power. Some feel that post-Reagan this was uneccessary, but I think his work has been in the best interests of protecting the country, especially after Sept. 11, 2001.

Posted by: proudtobeGOP | November 6, 2007 10:44 AM | Report abuse

Rudy's track record in dealing with illegal immigration alone will be his downfall. This is probably one of the R party's greatest strengths in the upcoming election, and he has landed flatly on the wrong side of it.

Now then, as far as drivers' licenses or national ID cards for illegals go, let's look at this from a different perspective. Suppose there were thousands of escaped convicts on the loose after a prison riot had somehow freed them. In Rudy's world it would be OK for them to come in and register for a card, then be let go only to run free and commit crimes in public. Now do you see the inherent problem? THEY ARE HERE ILLEGALLY!!! And more are on their way every waking hour.

Finally, and for the record, this weekend Fred Thompson accused Mitt Romney of supporting the Bush/Kennedy/McCain immigration bill that was so roundly rejected by us all. Mitt responded that Fred had a memory problem, and rightly so. In fact, I distinctly recall Mitt immediately speaking out AGAINST the bill the morning after it had been announced that "a comprehensive bipartisan immigration reform deal had been reached." I also recall waiting to hear from Rudy at the time on his position, but it never came. Now I understand his silence.

The R party simply will not back anyone on the wrong side of the immigration issue. If Mitt is not the candidate who faces Billary and the CnC Machine, I will vote Independent or even worse - stay home.

Posted by: junglejohn | November 6, 2007 9:02 AM | Report abuse

Mitt Romney will be the GOP nominee. He is the only one that can unite all parts of the GOP base. Polls being released by our corrupt liberal MSM wolfpack press mean nothing right now because a full 40% of Americans still don't know who Mitt Romney is. One thing is for sure the corrupt liberals in our wolfpack press do not want their pals, the Democrats, to face Mitt Romney.................so we will continue to get this propaganda from the wolfpack until Mitt Romney wins in Iowa and New Hampshire..........GO MITT!

Posted by: bridgeway | November 6, 2007 7:34 AM | Report abuse

I am a Republican. If Ron Paul is the nominee I will vote for him.
If he isn't the nominee I'll vote for a third party candidate. I would never vote for Clinton or Giuliani. I am not alone in thinking this way.

If Republicans want to beat Hillary they must nominate the only candidate who can defeat her on the war issue and who also just so happens to be the only traditional conservative running for president.

Support Ron Paul and a return to the values of our founding fathers: No entangling alliances and free trade with all.

And if we going to nation build, lets build our own nation first. We have the highest debt of any nation in the world. It is incomprehensible that we are giving aid to anyone.

We have troops in over 130 nations around the world including Japan, Germany, and South Korea. Still!!!! How long ago were those wars? It's time to bring all of our troops home and protect our own borders.

Posted by: cantzon | November 6, 2007 5:39 AM | Report abuse

I believe that Gov Huckabee is the most electable. Everyone thinks he's only a social conservative, but he's also fiscally more conservative than ALL the other candidates. As Governor of Arkansas he cut taxes some 94 times. As President he will work to completely replace the unfair tax system we have with the FairTax.

What does it mean to be fiscally conservative?

RINO's will say they're conservative because they advocate tax cuts or even a flat tax. But those are really MODERATE fiscal positions - they support letting us keep a little more of our money because it stimulates the economy, but it does nothing to reduce the size and scope of the Federal Government or increase the freedom & power of citizens to control their earnings as long as the tax code punishes success and confiscates a percentage of our income. When it comes to fiscal policy Mitt, Rudy, Fred and John are all pretty much for the status quo - that is continuing to allow Gov't an entitlement to control a portion of our earnings. Only Mike Huckabee is for taking that power of control away from the gov't and giving it back to the people.

Mike Huckabee supports the FairTax which takes away all individual and corporate income taxes and lets you keep what you earn and decide for yourself how to save, spend or invest every dollar. That = INCREASED FREEDOM for ALL Americans. The Fairtax will also single-handedly reduce the size and scope of arguably the most abusive, bureaucratic monstrous arm of the Fed Gov't the IRS. By putting the IRS out of business the FairTax will make the Fed Gov't smaller and more accountable to the people. That is far more conservative than any proposal by any other candidate.

http://www.mikehuckabee.com/

Posted by: soulsamurai | November 6, 2007 2:40 AM | Report abuse

mibrooks27--"Huckabee is actually a moderate on social issues.."

Surely you are joking? http://www.mikehuckabee.com/index.cfm?FuseAction=Issues.Home

Posted by: roo_P | November 5, 2007 9:29 PM | Report abuse

Dear Chris,

Please stop referring to Guliani as Hizzoner. It is dumb.

Love,
English majors and OCD patients

Posted by: riff_raff17 | November 5, 2007 9:28 PM | Report abuse

In the same way that Hillary's gender could be an issue in a general election, Romney's religion could be his. We all know that Republicans usually put party before country. But a lot of fundamentalists consider Mormonism to be a cult. Would that be enough to keep him out of the White House? Perhaps. Another issue is his rampant flipflopping. Overnight he went from a New England moderate to a wingnut Conservative. That wouldn't be an issue for RepubTards, but it might be, in a general election. Yeah, Guiliani would have an edge in some battleground states - but as you said, the question is whether they will vote with their heart or a little bit of grey matter. The recent Reduhblican trend has been party before country - expect the latter.

Posted by: con_crusher | November 5, 2007 8:22 PM | Report abuse

Oh, a genuine question for the Republican voters here. Who do you support and why? I genuinely want to know. If my party decides to commit suicide, it would be nice to understand the alternatives party's nominee. I think I am too the left of even most liberals here, but I usually vote moderate and this time around, voting Republican might just be the moderate alternative.

Posted by: mibrooks27 | November 5, 2007 7:45 PM | Report abuse

I normally a Democrat, but for what it's worth, I think Huckabee and McCain are the two most electable Republican candidates. I don't trust Guliani any more than I do Clinton, bu if he actually startys answering questions that may change. Romney is simply so awful I would never vote for him under any circumstances. Huckabee is actually a moderate on social issues and spending and is pretty rational on most issues. McCain I disagree with on almost everything but he's such a decent man you cannot help but like him. If the race were between he and Clinton, I'd vote for McCain in a heartbeat. Huckabee is someone I could get excited about. From everything I have read about him, he sounds more like Obama than anything. (I'd prefer the real McCoy, Obama, over him though.) My first choice is still Edwards.

Posted by: mibrooks27 | November 5, 2007 7:39 PM | Report abuse

'I've been reading some of the Dem blogs and they are warning each other to never, never, never, admit publicly that Rudy is pro-choice and pro-gay rights because as they put it, "that's a weapon that can be used against us." But have no fear, the media is pointing that out for them anyway.'

I'd like you to provide a couple of links to back up an utterly preposterous assertion. Rudy is not a social liberal, he is a se*ual libertine. The fact that he went out of his way to flaunt his public affairs and humiliate his wife and children proves that.

Posted by: drindl | November 5, 2007 6:50 PM | Report abuse

Giuliani's electibility is a myth.

1) He cannot beat Hillary in fundamentally blue states

2) He will lose the grassroots machine of the values conservatives. It's not his "Country Club" or "Wall Street" Republican friends from NYC and SF who do the hard work of grassroots organizing. And without the ground game, he will not be able to win in the purple states.

Posted by: ThePrincipalChair | November 5, 2007 6:40 PM | Report abuse

'Mark, Inasmuch as the Constitution was constructed by men who distrusted concentrations of power, I don't support the idea of a unitary executive. Some of the VPs recent efforts have been valid, imo, w/r to secrecy...for example logs of visitors to the VP's residence need not be released to Congress.

Cheney will, no doubt, go down in history as one of the most aggressive and successful advocates of executive powers in this nation's history. I don't agree with all of his monarchical notions of prerogatives for the POTUS, but the pendulum had swung for a time towward an imperiled presidncy, and that is something to be guarded against.'

I agree with much of your post, proud, except in regard to Cheney's extraordiary secrecy. But I don't know when or how or why there was an imperiled presidency. Seriously, when was that?

Posted by: drindl | November 5, 2007 6:22 PM | Report abuse

The biggest advantage Rudy has over any other GOP candidate against Hillary, is that his social moderation neutralizes the "religious right/out of the mainstream" argument the Dems use against every conservative Republican candidate to ruin his reputation with female voters and moderate voters.

I've been reading some of the Dem blogs and they are warning each other to never, never, never, admit publicly that Rudy is pro-choice and pro-gay rights because as they put it, "that's a weapon that can be used against us." But have no fear, the media is pointing that out for them anyway.

Rudy is the first Republican candidate since Gerald Ford for whom the National Organization of Women and NARAL won't be able to wave the bloody coat-hanger to scare women with.

Posted by: sinz52 | November 5, 2007 6:19 PM | Report abuse

Chris asked why Huckabee isn't considered the "heart" candidate of the conservatives.

Answer: Huck is only the "heart" candidate of the SOCIAL conservatives, not the ECONOMIC conservatives. Which may be why Chris likes him and I don't.

Huckabee had a moderate-to-liberal record on taxes and spending when he was governor of Arkansas. We economic conservatives want a President who will cut Federal spending, not increase it.

Posted by: sinz52 | November 5, 2007 6:12 PM | Report abuse

Mark, Inasmuch as the Constitution was constructed by men who distrusted concentrations of power, I don't support the idea of a unitary executive. Some of the VPs recent efforts have been valid, imo, w/r to secrecy...for example logs of visitors to the VP's residence need not be released to Congress.

Cheney will, no doubt, go down in history as one of the most aggressive and successful advocates of executive powers in this nation's history. I don't agree with all of his monarchical notions of prerogatives for the POTUS, but the pendulum had swung for a time towward an imperiled presidncy, and that is something to be guarded against.

Posted by: proudtobeGOP | November 5, 2007 5:34 PM | Report abuse

"Madden also suggested that nominating Giuliani could depress the Republican party base and "have a negative effect on many down-ballot races in 'red' states across the country." That is, Republican voters may either stay home or defect to a more conservative third party option if Giuliani is the candidate -- a development that could lead to underperformances that could hamper candidates running for Senate, House and local offices in reliably GOP states.

That seems a bit far-fetched to us; if Clinton is the Democratic nominee, Republican base voters are likely to turn out in droves to vote against her no matter who is opposing her."

I still think this analysis misses the point on the turnout issue- it's not about blue dog Republicans turning out, it's about the GOTV effort and people bringing conservative leaning independents, who might not otherwise turn out to vote, to the polls to put their candidates over the top. It's one thing to work phone banks and organize voting buses to get people out arguing to come out and vote for Bush because he's a good Christian and everything else they argued for back in 2000 and 2004 and a different thing all together to try to drag them to the polls to beat Hillary. A GOTV effort based on a negative like that will be more likely to backfire.

Posted by: kreuz_missile | November 5, 2007 5:30 PM | Report abuse

jason, look ahead to the general election campaign. Assume with me that many Indie voters will decide based on personality and comfort zone, and that how likeable the nominees are will determine the election.

Do the thought experiments for each D against each R.

Remember, you are an Indie who may think that all the campaign promises are bs and you are voting based on whether you like and trust the candidate, rather than her/his positions.

What do you see? IMO, that exercise would have yielded GWB as a winner against JK, in 2004.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | November 5, 2007 5:27 PM | Report abuse

o I think you have nailed the ID card issue and I think it will be an excellent tool for enforcement of rules pertaining to illegal aliens.
---

Mark, I'm afraid I have to agree with the poster who says, 'no totalitarian state operates without a national ID' --it's terribly dangerous Mark. With the snooping tools they have now, coupled with that, you will never have another moment of freedom or privacy in your life. your every move can be scrutinized -- held against you. Besides which, it may be biometric. One scan of your irises, for instance, might turn up a gigantic database of everyone you have ever called or emailed, and every google search you have ever done, plus your medical records, financials, etc. It's just too creepy.

Posted by: drindl | November 5, 2007 5:18 PM | Report abuse

New numbers on Favorable/Unfavorable opinions of the candidates from a Nov 1 WaPo/ABC poll:

F=Favorable U=Unfavorable
Clinton: F=50% U=46%
Obama: F=51 U=36
Edwards: F=49 U=35

Giuliani: F=50 U=40
McCain: F=43 U=42
Thompson: F=33 U=37
Huckabee: F=21 U=30

Thoughts:
Seems Obama and Edwards are the most likable.
There are a lot of people who haven't yet formed an opinion of Huckabee or Thompson.
People hate HRC less than you might think. But probably not by much. It seems that her favorability (I don't think that's a word but you have to work with me on this) numbers went up through '06 but have trended down this year. There was an odd hiccup in Feb 07 that had her Favorable/Unfavorable numbers neck and neck, but I'm throwing it out since it doesn't seem to jibe with the rest of the data. If you include that, though, her numbers are trending up again. I don't think they are. Add to that, the percentage of people that are strongly opposed is about 3 times that of those somewhat opposed. Guiliani's numbers are quite a bit closer, meaning he can sway a lot more people that HRC can. If you go by these numbers, the "head candidate" might actually be Edwards or Obama. I'm leaning towards an Obama/Biden ticket.

I can't wait to see some December polling though.

Posted by: JasonL_in_MD | November 5, 2007 5:08 PM | Report abuse

This article and its subsequent comments affirm to me the proven concept of "the imbecility of crowd." An example of this idea in action would be the stock market run-ups of the late 1920s and the late 1990s. The "crowd" in those cases had concluded that stocks were reasonably valued and that we were in a "new era" of ever-increasing stock prices. We all know how the 1930s and the early 2000s brought those assumptions into question!!

Today I see "crowd" in action again, as evidenced in this article. The crowd has concluded that national polling numbers actually matter BEFORE the state primaries! Based on historical election data, this "group-think" assumption is completely wrong. The obsession with national polling numbers -- before the state primaries -- is something akin to the "crowd's" assumption 500 years ago that the sun revolved around the earth. My advice to you dear reader: break out of the crowd!

Polling data in the early STATES -- again, BEFORE the primaries -- relentlessly indicate that Mitt Romney has a VERY GOOD CHANCE of wrapping up (like a row of falling dominoes) the states of Iowa, NH, Michigan, Nevada and SC BEFORE the Florida primary vote. In other words, Mitt Romney has a VERY GOOD CHANCE of winning FIVE STATES before Florida. Now, if I were a Florida primary voter, I would likely conclude at that moment that Mitt Romney's campaign might have that ever-so-sought-after-quality of "legs."

I would argue that the "big domino" of FL has a very good chance of falling for Mitt after being struck by those five previous dominoes. And, once FL goes for Mitt, it's back to the lecture circuit for Rudy.

Posted by: mattagape | November 5, 2007 5:04 PM | Report abuse

Reading a few of these postings by Republicans compels me to add this thought, they are pinning their hope of victory on Hillary. They believe she will so mobilize their troops that this will carry them to victory. It's a very interesting commentary on the state of affairs in the GOP at present, on their total bankruptcy as a party, and their underestimatinon both of the desire for competency and change, but also of the high regard in which Bill Clinton is held. Because yes folks have figured out that they will get a twofer!

Posted by: johnbsmrk | November 5, 2007 4:58 PM | Report abuse

The Giuliani campaign is a joke. First they push the idea that Giuliani makes NY a "battleground" state, then they throw the Giuliani (Fox) News poll around.

Yah. Clinton, Giuliani and McCain have 2 or more decades of national name recognition--absolutely pointless snapshots when we look at states like Iowa and all the candidates are the same in head to head matchups. Clinton will trounce him.

Posted by: mikeVA1 | November 5, 2007 4:58 PM | Report abuse

Hello does anyone realize that Mitt is leading in the first five states ? The c-span GOP focus group thursday proved that they where just starting to tune into the race. They did not know the names of the spouses. Chris knows this .The national polls are just name recognition . Rudy has split the right wing .Remember the prolifers swung over to Carter like Tarzan after Jane. Our MSM is throwing us red meat.Do the math and call me later. The GOP is backing Mitt.

Posted by: chuckthetruck | November 5, 2007 4:56 PM | Report abuse

The notion that Rudy, all of a sudden, puts the North East in play for the Republicans is a highly dubious notion given that in his home state of NY where they know him best she is outpolling him by about 34%. He might poll a bit stronger than a Thompson but given regional preferences and as the country gets to know a lot more about the record of America's mayor I don't think it will be material. Conversely, there are several polls out there, notably a recent one from Pew, that shows Clinton performing surprisingly strongly in several Southern states. She's never going to win MS are Arkansas, Virginia, Florida, West Virginia not out of the question. Given the electoral landscape which is producing some dire numbers for Republicans, the national mood which is longing to be rid of all things Bush whose name will undoubtedly be on the ballot no matter how hard Republicans try to erase it, the issues that are most important to Americans like healthcare, Republican lack of enthusiasm, and Clinton's gender, I'd say Rudy's chances are not really a lot better than any other Republicans.

Posted by: johnbsmrk | November 5, 2007 4:48 PM | Report abuse

Ron Paul.

Look at the Money Bomb:

http://www.ronpaul2008.com/

Posted by: grunk | November 5, 2007 4:46 PM | Report abuse

Elections must not be a popularity vote. There is too much at stake of this nation. Nice people, kind people, admirable people, religious people live around all of us, but most do not have the credentials needed to lead a nation. It is nice to like someone for one reason or another. Every candidate has something good about them. Not one of the candidates is perfect.

We have to get past the Hollywood, High School mentality of popularity. Emotions can be strong in fighting for our favorite candidate....we all want to be winners.

It is time(its November) to step back from all the campaigning spins and see who really has the best resume' to lead this country. We are hiring someone to do a very difficult job. Our economic future and national security depends upon our newly elected President's ability to bring change.

Who can best deal with Health Care, Foreign Policy, the Social Security crisis, Fiscal security, Immigration, Education, Moral Issues, Energy, the Environment.

Warning.....don't just think about the candidate you have liked most thus far.....go look at the platforms of each candidate. Set aside your comfort zone for a while and try to look at things a bit differently than you have in the past. You might be surprised at what you hear that you would not hear before.

I will do the same.

Sometimes the wealthy in this country forget the poor. Sometimes the poor are jealous of the life the rich live.

"Wo unto you rich men, that will not give your substance to the poor, for your riches will canker your souls.....Wo unto you, poor men, whose hearts are not broken, whose spirits are not contrite, and whose bellies are not satisfied, and whose hands are not stayed from laying hold upon other men's goods, whose eyes are full of greediness, and who will not labor with your own hands. But blessed are the poor who are pure in heart, whose hearts are broken, and whose spirits are contrite...for the fatness of the earth shall be theirs"

Posted by: manwaringjd | November 5, 2007 4:41 PM | Report abuse

stonecreek, if the polls now are name recognition, only, then general election analysis must depend on how the nominees affect Indie voters. We cannot know that now.

History says the nominees will run toward the middle as fast as their little spin doctors can turn the wheels.

Probably only Romney would have to do a sharp turn, again, in the general, on the R side. Edwards would have to make a sharp turn on the D side.

This will likely be a close presidential race determined in large part by the personalities of the candidates, not the issues, unless there is a dramatic turn of events that one side or the other can capitalize upon. It is unlikely to turn on the failure of GWB's Presidency. GWB is not running.

Now think about their personalities. You can see why AndyR says MH is the Ds toughest matchup. I am not pushing personality - I genuinely like McCain, but my respect for him is based on his commitment to open government and cooperative policy making. I am merely saying that you must imagine the likability factor.

proud, - yes, my R friends include many other attorneys. But am I hearing you say you like the notion of the "unitary executive"? Or are you saying something less - that nevertheless is related to the authority of a Prez as CinC?

Posted by: mark_in_austin | November 5, 2007 4:36 PM | Report abuse

dmonline-you may be right about that but you forgot to consider that 1)the economy will be in a downturn next year,and 2)there will still be troops in the ground in a deeply unpopular war. if anything it would be a close general election with 2 canidates that are mirror images of each other.

not to mention the fact that the dems will also be motivated to turn out in record numbers for the dem canidate yet to be named(i really wouldnt trust the national polls until superduper mega fantastic tuesday)

Eureka1-sorry also gotta disagree with you here about obama. obama has a edge right now, and its being a african american. having him at the top or in a vp slot will turn out the AA voters in droves, just for the chance that they can elect a african american not named sharpton or jackson to high office. this might put the south into play, i can see alabama,georgia, arkansas,the carolina's and louisiana being close or flipping if theres a concerted effort to register and get the vote out efforts in the south.

Posted by: jaymills1124 | November 5, 2007 4:35 PM | Report abuse

As for the problem with NationalIDs, I'll let **Rudy's own advisor** (from 1986) explain it:

"It is easy to imagine a future Congress, seeking to deal with terrorism, gun control, civil disturbance, tax evasion, draft evasion, failure to pay child support, voter fraud, welfare fraud, spies, communicable diseases, multiple drug prescriptions, or whatever, extending the power to use the national identification system to deal with the crisis of the moment... A centralized national identity system is an extraordinarily powerful tool to give to a government. No totalitarian government operates without one. It requires a naivete based on a total absence of historical perspective to believe that we can allow the government to establish such a system and at the same time prevent its eventual use for purposes that we would today consider totally unacceptable."

Combine that with something like TotalInformation Awareness (JohnPoindexter's scheme) and the feds would have very tight control over everything we do. Just because they have some control now doesn't mean we should give them more.

The irony is that "civil liberties" groups like the ACLU continually try to subvert our immigration laws, and that leads to more illegal immigration. And, that will lead to someone like Ruuudy stepping in to "solve" the problem by taking civil liberties away.

Posted by: LonewackoDotCom | November 5, 2007 4:33 PM | Report abuse

stonecreek writes
"These early match-up polls still indicate little other than name ID."

I had the same thought, while reading Chris's piece. But that doesn't explain why Sen Clinton's numbers have changed relative to Sen Obama's. That Sen Clinton's numbers are rising among self-identified liberals is a surprise to me. In the trite nomenclature of political cliche, have Dem primary voters chosen to skip selecting a 'heart' candidate and gone right to the 'head' candidate?

(I do NOT think Sen Clinton is the smart - i.e. 'head' - candidate. But I suspect Dem primary voters think exactly that).

Posted by: bsimon | November 5, 2007 4:27 PM | Report abuse

The notion that Rudy might be able to expand the Red State universe is plausible. In additon to New Jersey and Pennsylvania, his Catholic ethnic credentials might also play well in blue states like Michigan and Wisconsin. However, I don't follow Mr. Cillizza's mentioning Sen. Obama as a candidate capable of cutting into the other party's turf. I can see Edwards and possibly Hillary making the Democrats competitve in "red" Missouri, West Virginia, Virginia, Colorado and Nevada -- not to mention Iowa, New Mexico, Ohio and Florida -- but I don't see Barack doing so.

Posted by: Eureka1 | November 5, 2007 4:22 PM | Report abuse

BUT RUDY LOOKS BETTER IN DRAG [WE THINK] THAN THE OTHER CANDIDATES AND THERE ARE 'THOSE TIMES' IN 'FOREIGN AFFAIRS' WHERE OTHER DIPLOMATES WOULD REALLY PREFER NOT TO HAVE TO 'WALK A MILE FOR A CAMEL.' E UNDERSTAND THAT THIS IS ESPECIALLY TRUE IN THE MIDDLE EAST.

NOW OBAMA MIGHT LOOK OK IN DRAG, BUT SO FAR HE HAS MERELY ACKNOWLEDGED AN INCIDENT [OR SO] OF COCAINE USE.

MAYBE OPRAH WILL HOST A POLITICAL CANDIDATE LOOK ALIKE DRAG SHOW. oF COURSE 'REAL WOMEN' ARE PERMITTED TO APPEAR AS THEMSELVES, IF THEY SO WISH.

Posted by: brucerealtor | November 5, 2007 4:21 PM | Report abuse

Your last two sentences undermine the credibility of everything that came before:

"But, they should heed well the lessons of history. Remember in 2004 when Democrats turned away from heart candidate Howard Dean and instead nominated head candidate John Kerry? We all know how that turned out."

Are you somehow suggesting that if the Dems went with their heart and nominated Howard Dean, Dean would've beat Bush in '04? OMG. You've GOT to be kidding. Republicans were begging you guys to nominate Dean. Bush would've won a 49 state landslide re-election.

Today Republicans are keeping our mouths shut. We're secretly hoping, pleading, praying you'll nominate That Woman (Hillary). She's the only candidate the Republicans can beat and they'll do so handily.

In the meantime, the Republicans will unite around Rudy. The thought of The Clintons walking back into The Oval will ensure a huge Republican turnout.

Dreams of a President Hillary will be dashed less than one year from now.

DMOnline
http://both-right.blogspot.com/

Posted by: dmonline | November 5, 2007 4:20 PM | Report abuse

In most countries, you could count on the opposition party to point out the shortcomings and inconsistencies of a candidate. In this country, however, there is no opposition party--only the gutless, stupid, craven, copout Democrats.

Posted by: nicekid | November 5, 2007 4:19 PM | Report abuse

Mark in Austin writes
"That was not intended as analysis, but as one more registration of my surprise at almost everybody's various reactions to different candidates at this moment."

I meant it as a critique of her analysis of his viability based on his name; I get that you're surprised. I am too.


"I think you would find that what concerns you most is barely an issue for many of your acquaintances, too"

Yes, definitely.

Can the difference between political awareness today vs. during the Vietnam era be summarized as "without a draft, people don't give a damn anymore"?

Posted by: bsimon | November 5, 2007 4:19 PM | Report abuse

mark, The problem here is that CC is attempting to use faulty statistics to form a valid conclusion, or at least hint at one. The Real Clear Politics "average" of polling data has Clinton beating McCain by only 1.2 more percentage points than she beats Rudy.

Factor in the margin of error, and you've got a dead heat between Rudy and McCain in their chances of beating Clinton. Moreover, the averaging of polls is not a valid statistical method, as CC pointed out.

McCain is still a better fit for the party on a variety of issues, imo. The neocons are the ones who want to have a well-entrenched presidency and have fought to regain some of the boundaries that have been eroded. An idea with which I tend to agree.

It is not altogether surprising that your R friends (also attorneys?) would favor the legislative branch, activist judges notwithstanding, I hope.

Posted by: proudtobeGOP | November 5, 2007 4:14 PM | Report abuse

Blarg, I used to be a strong proponent of "privacy" but I believe that privacy is now a dead letter, as it pertains to the romantic notion of not being visible to the Federal Government.

So I think you have nailed the ID card issue and I think it will be an excellent tool for enforcement of rules pertaining to illegal aliens.
-------------------------------------

Posted by: mark_in_austin | November 5, 2007 4:11 PM | Report abuse

These early match-up polls still indicate little other than name ID. There is yet to be a campaign run (either for the nominations or for the general election.)

Upsides for Guiliani: Hillary charges up the R base like no one else can. At the same time Guiliani represents a "moderate" alternative (as perceived on at least on some issues) that some of the significant number of mod/lib voters who have visceral reaction to Hillary could turn to.

Downsides for Guiliani: He's an idiot. Unlike his fellow idiot, GWB, he also has an ego so cannot be "handled" and will alienate sufficient voters to implode a general election campaign.

Romney is the perfect genetic Republican. His weakness with the "middle" will grow as he moderates when his general election campaign gets into swing, and he is better able to invigorate the "christian right" (the only reason Baptists don't trust Mormons is because Mormons really DON'T drink, but that can be overlooked). He is also the true darling of Wall Street. He likely beats Hillary if both are nominated.

Obama has to fight the 5% subterranian block, and it is unlikely that he can overcome it. Beside, who the hell is this guy and who knows what he's for (or against?). He might be the potentially the greatest President ever, but it is impossible to say from his scant history and flash-in-the-pan campaign.

Edwards, Richardson, Biden, Dodd -- any of them are impossible for any given Republican to beat under the current circumstances. Additionally, and scarier for the R's, is that any one of them will carry with him a larger Democratic majority in Congress. All of which is a good argument as to why none of them will be nominated.

Posted by: Stonecreek | November 5, 2007 4:09 PM | Report abuse

Chris- you mention and then gloss over that no one is dealing with Rudy Guiliani's record. It is horrendous. On September 10th 2001 he couldn't have been elected dog catcher in NY. He was seen running up Broadway on September 11th instead of managing the crisi becasue against all advice he put the Emergency Management Center for NY in the wrong place.

With maybe 100 million in donations the Democrats will be able to let the public know about Rudy Guiliani- Thrice married catholic- the person who has made the most personal profit out of the tragedy of 9/11-the man who still support Bernard Kerik as he is about to get indicted- the man who is pro-choice and says he will name conservative judges- a man who lived with two gay men in NY after his second divorce- a man with no foreign policy experience and who thinks bluster overcomes that- etc. etc. etc.

Anyone who doesn't think Rudy Guiliani's negative numbers won't go way up is crazy and Democrats will easily beat him in NY-PA-NJ and California. The more he tries to turn his message to win those states the fewer voters he will get in the deep south. It will be a fun campaign.

Posted by: peterdc | November 5, 2007 4:08 PM | Report abuse

It could be that Rudy is running highest in the polls because he is the liberal conservative. The other GOP candidates are competing against each other at this point which divides the numbers. If one of the more social conservatives were to come to the front, Rudy's numbers would fall.

Posted by: manwaringjd | November 5, 2007 4:04 PM | Report abuse

bsimon, the young woman said she would not support BHO, but when I asked her whether she had ever heard any of the candidates or watched any of the forums, she said "no."

That was not intended as analysis, but as one more registration of my surprise at almost everybody's various reactions to different candidates at this moment.

I am realizing that what I care about most is not widely shared by others. And because you and I share many priorities, I think you would find that what concerns you most is barely an issue for many of your acquaintances, too - although Minnesotans have more of an affinity for "good government" than Texans, it seems.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | November 5, 2007 4:03 PM | Report abuse

Ron Paul is the only Republican who can beat a Democrat in 2008.

Today's grassroots November 5 Money Bomb has gone completely nuclear.

$2,000,000 has been donated in $5 -$2,300 increments by average Americans.

Senator Clinton does not have that kind of support and certainly Mitt, Rudy, Mike & John don't.

Posted by: grannymiller | November 5, 2007 4:02 PM | Report abuse

It'll be Rudy. He's the meanest, the biggest drumbeater for nativist jingoism, and that's what the base wants--an authoritarian. Someone who will continue to keep attacking Democrats. Mitt is too measured, too mild for them.

Mitt wounded himself when he suggested he might listen to the advice of lawyers -- they'll never let him forget that.

'How would Norman Podhoretz's appearance on Lehrer [opposite Fareed Zakaria], where he called for war against Iran now and repeated that Iran was a threat to the west on a par with Hitler in 1937, play to the R base?'

They will eat it up.

Posted by: drindl | November 5, 2007 4:02 PM | Report abuse

Lonewacko, could you elaborate on the problems of a national ID card? I hear the concept criticized frequently, but only in vague terms. And I don't see the problem.

It's very hard to function in society without some kind of ID. Valid IDs are usually issued by the states (driver's license and non-driving equivalents), but some are issued by the federal government (military ID, passport). You frequently need to present one of these IDs, a Social Security Card, a birth certificate, etc., for various reasons.

Why would it be bad if all IDs were issued by the federal government, instead of the states? It seems like that would cut down on fake IDs and identity theft. And it wouldn't give the government access to any personal data that they don't already have in some form. Maybe I'm being naive, but I don't see the downside.

Posted by: Blarg | November 5, 2007 3:57 PM | Report abuse

This analysis also forgets about other issues that haven't yet been raised by Republicans. As Biden has pointed out, Rudy has essentially no foreign policy experience, and he sounds like a an utter fool (a la GWB) when he talks about it. More importantly I think is his weakness when it comes to 9/11. He hasn't been publicly challenged on the issue yet.
See http://therealrudy.org/blog/5400-rudy-s-9-11-failures-of-leadership-exposed-by-fire-fighters
and
http://therealrudy.org/blog/12023-the-real-rudy-command-center
(malfunctioning radios for firefighters and the command center Rudy put in one of the trade center buildings)

It's amazing that the media hasn't talked about this yet, but eventually it will get traction. Rudy's failures are too big to just be forgotten about.

Posted by: tgillette | November 5, 2007 3:56 PM | Report abuse

JD: Thompson is this year's Wesley Clark -- a better candidate in theory than in fact. He peaked the minute before he announced his candidacy.

Looks like Rudy vs Mitty, whether the GOP base likes it or not.

Posted by: Spectator2 | November 5, 2007 3:55 PM | Report abuse

Seems to me Rudy's got the best chance, or maybe a better way to say it, a bigger headstart, in trying to knock down HRC's numbers in the general.

http://www.pollingreport.com/wh08gen.htm

Plus, Rudy's got 45% against whoever. Mitt and Fred get whooped against Barrack or Edwards; interesting.

Posted by: JD | November 5, 2007 3:52 PM | Report abuse

Chris,

Why didn't you mention Mike Huckabee as the conservative's "heart" candidate. If he had better name recognition, he would be a much stronger contender. He social policies are right in line with social conservatives and his extreme likability would probably help him convince independents to his side. As a liberal myself, I don't care for most of his policy positions, but I can't help but like the guy. He seems like the only person on the Republican side who could honestly be a "uniter". He lacks foreign policy credentials, but he takes a strong stand against Iran that I'm sure most conservatives would appreciate. And if Sen. Clinton were to get the nomination, his nomination would surely excite social conservatives to come out and vote against her and be enthusiastic about voting for him. He's strong in Iowa and I think a strong second place showing would boost him in the other early primary states.

Jason

Posted by: sanic11 | November 5, 2007 3:48 PM | Report abuse

"Just yesterday, a friend of my eldest daughter, @34, a college graduate, Mexican-American, a self-identified "liberal", told me no one with the name Barack Hussein Obama could ever be Prez."

That is becoming a common talking point, but smacks of limited to nonexistent analysis of the hypothesis. For instance, does the above referenced self-identified liberal say that she would not vote for Obama, were he the nominee? She does not. She implies that the swing voters who actually decide elections would let his name influence their vote. But is that true? On what does she base this opinion? In which swing state does she predict there will be enough neanderthalic types that won't vote for a guy - based solely on his name - that would keep him from winning an election? I don't see it.

Posted by: bsimon | November 5, 2007 3:45 PM | Report abuse

Does the WaPo have a blog that discusses the actual policy positions of the candidates? Or, is their goal simply to numb people with the horserace and thus allow the inevitable to happen?

What's more important: poll numbers, or the NationalID card that Rudy's election would inevitably result in?

Details on the card here:

http://lonewacko.com/blog/archives/007130.html

Please go to his appearances and ask him questions about the flaws in his policy, then upload the response to Youtube.

Posted by: LonewackoDotCom | November 5, 2007 3:38 PM | Report abuse

Rudy being the electable one? Only if you think that the Republicans can win in CA, NY, or NJ. Republicans need someone to maintain Virginia, Kentucky, Ohio, and Florida if they want to have a chance.

Posted by: charlesdwarms | November 5, 2007 3:32 PM | Report abuse

How would Norman Podhoretz's appearance on Lehrer [opposite Fareed Zakaria], where he called for war against Iran now and repeated that Iran was a threat to the west on a par with Hitler in 1937, play to the R base?

Knowing that he is RG's inside guy on foreign policy worried me, an Independent, to the point of dismissing RG.

Do Main Street Rs like the notion of a permanently "strong President" vis-a-vis the other branches? My many R friends have mainly been folks who favored legislative power, if they favored any branch at all.

KOZ, proud, anyone, do these structural issues play to Rs one way or another? It used to be Ds who wanted a "strong" Prez. It was FDR who tried to stack the Supremes.

At 64 I seem to have lost touch with what goes on for American voters in either Party. So McCain is with me on structure and process, but where are all the other Rs?

Just yesterday, a friend of my eldest daughter, @34, a college graduate, Mexican-American, a self-identified "liberal", told me no one with the name Barack Hussein Obama could ever be Prez.
This is after all four of my kids told me they loved the guy, although my youngest, the chemist, also made the point about his name months ago, and wondered if he shouldn't change it to "Barry Alabama".

Posted by: mark_in_austin | November 5, 2007 3:27 PM | Report abuse

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