Giuliani Dominates Instapundit Straw Poll
The Blogfather has decided to weigh in with his own straw poll. It's another walk in the park for the 2008 GOP frontrunner, Rudy Giuliani:
Rudy Giuliani 45% (3,792)
Newt Gingrich 20% (1,690)
Mitt Romney 14% (1,161)
George Allen 11% (936)
John McCain 10% (839)
Bill Frist 1% (99)
Reynolds observes "he's led in pretty much all the blogospheric straw polls, but this margin is huge. I'm pretty sure that Newt is overperforming, too."
Reader Brian Erst gets the next to last word, proclaiming Rudy dead for all the obvious reasons. But I'll point no further than Newt's persistent support (no doubt a result of his "World War III" foresight) as proof that no one really knows where this thing is headed.
If there's any candidate who gets less respect than Rudy, it's Newt. Like Rudy, he continues to run well in polls and gets good-sized crowds in Iowa. But everyone -- this observer included -- doesn't give second thought to the fact that if he runs, he'll eventually fade.
Remember that back in the day, Newt had a fav/unfav split straight out of Three Mile Island. But also remember how fervent pro-Newt sentiment was and apparently still is. Whether it was leading us to the barricades in '94, indicting the evils of the welfare state, or pushing for a balanced budget even his Budget Chairman thought was a pipe-dream, I remember thinking: "This man is a genius. Why is he so misunderstood? How is it possible he has a 65% unfavorable rating?"
The Gingrich resurgence you're seeing today is people not getting past that first sentence. And since Newt is no longer in the spotlight, there are no poll numbers to remind us just how bad things were when he got owned by Bill Clinton. I lived through it and got that t-shirt, but for those that don't remember it all that well, or think anything could be better than the Republican leaders we have today (even Tom DeLay inspires nostalgia these days), Newt is very appealing in a way that is little understood by the Beltway media.
As someone who's long been crying in the wilderness predicting Rudy Giuliani's nomination and election, I can relate.
Newt running and actually living up to expectations seems impossible... until it actually happens. Weirder -- much weirder -- things have happened in Republican primaries (Bush 41 in Iowa '80, Pat Robertson, Pat Buchanan).
For virtually anyone in this field to get nominated, something that is thought impossible will have to happen. Pro-lifers voting for a pro-choicer. Evangelicals voting for a Mormon. Conservatives all of a sudden waking up one morning and deciding they (heart) John McCain.
In that kind of race, I can think of much stranger things than Newt as a tier-one candidate. In fact, I can hardly think of anything better for the country (in terms of a substantive and enlightened debate) than Giuliani and Gingrich as the last two men left standing for the nomination.