The Poll We've Been Waiting For
Folks -- not only did that Cook/RT Strategies poll show a 12 point Rudy lead in the primary, but they provided FULL crosstabs, so we can have some sense of where Rudy and McCain's support is coming from. Just as I've suspected for months, Rudy's supporters are right in the mainstream of the Republican Party, and McCain's are considerably to the left. McCain tops out in the high teens among Republicans (with Rudy in the mid-30s), and with his 40% unfavorables with the base, a field full of candidates yet to define themselves, and with so many McCain supporters who would gladly support Rudy, this poll confirms that Rudy Giuliani is the clear frontrunner for the '08 GOP nomination.
Some key findings:
- Rudy Giuliani leads John McCain for the Republican nomination by 32-20%.
- Rudy Giuliani is also the most popular second choice pick, at 21-17% over McCain.
- Looking at the combined first and second choice picks, Giuliani leads McCain 53-37%.
- When reminded about Rudy Giuliani’s 9/11 heroism and pressed on his more moderate positions on abortion, gay rights, and gun control, Republican primary voters agree that Giuliani should still be the nominee by a healthy 18 point margin – 56-38%.
Rudy Giuliani is George Bush’s heir apparent. McCain voters don’t much care for the President, and are unhappy with the current direction of the country.
- Giuliani voters approve of Bush’s job performance 75-17%, right in line with all Republicans and Republican leaners. McCain voters are fundamentally out of step with the Republican Party, with a tepid 59-28% approval margin.
- Giuliani voters see the country moving in the right direction by 63-30%. Republicans + leaners say right direction 59-34%. For McCain voters, the right direction/wrong track number is a negative 44-50%.
- Giuliani voters are more positive towards President Bush personally. 28% of them give the President a thermometer ranking of 90 or above, vs. 20% for McCain supporters.
Rudy: Popular with the Republican base, with more potential to grow
- Giuliani’s “thermometer” rating among Republicans is 13 points higher than McCain – 70 to 57.
- 38% of Republicans give McCain a rating lower than 50 on the thermometer. Just 16% of Republicans rate Giuliani below 50.
- Giuliani leads the primary ballot test among Republicans by 17 points – 35-18%. McCain leads amongst independents by 1%.
- Rudy Giuliani leads John McCain in the South by 29-18%.
Giuliani supporters are more Republican than McCain supporters
- 15% of McCain supporters plan to vote Democrat in this fall’s midterm elections, compared to 2% of Giuliani supporters.
- 82% of Giuliani supporters consider themselves Republicans. Just 69% of McCain supporters consider themselves Republicans.
Who takes from whom?
- People who do not want Rudy Giuliani to be the nominee are more split among rival campaigns: McCain 24%, Gingrich 13%, Giuliani 11%, Frist 11%, Allen 8%, Romney 7%.
- Rudy Giuliani is the second choice of 50% of McCain supporters. McCain is the second choice of 32% of Giuliani supporters.
- McCain voters feel comfortable with Giuliani – the ex-NYC Mayor trails McCain by just 10 points among McCain voters – 76 to 66. Giuliani voters are more enthusiastic about their candidate, at 82, and are cooler towards McCain, giving him a 57 – a 25 point gap between the two candidates.
- Rudy Giuliani receives his strongest thermometer rating in the South and Great Lakes, at 62.4 percent.
- Younger and middle aged voters seem to favor Giuliani – older voters are more likely to favor McCain.
- McCain’s supporters are 62% male.