CNN: Giuliani 29, McCain 27 for the Nomination
It's close, but I'll take it:
On the Republican side, there is a virtual tie for first place, with 29 percent of registered GOPers expressing preference for Giuliani and 27 percent opting for McCain.
McCain has picked up 6 points of support since September, with Giuliani holding steady.
Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich of Georgia is the only other Republican to make it into double digits, with 12 percent.
Sen. George Allen of Virginia, who is embroiled in a tough re-election fight, was at 7 percent last month, but pulls just 2 percent now.
The telephone poll of 873 registered voters -- 472 people who identified themselves as Democrats or leaning Democrat and 401 who identified themselves as Republican or leaning Republican -- was carried out last Friday through Sunday for CNN by Opinion Research Corp.
I have real problems with how this poll scoops up ALL registered Republicans when maybe a third of them will vote in a primary. As we have seen, this race stratifies heavily on likelihood to vote in primaries, to the benefit of Messrs. Gingrich and Romney and to the detriment of Mr. McCain (with it being a wash for Rudy). CNN did not release data for likely voters (by its 2006 not 2008 definition).
I won't veer into sour grapes territory because I know this is essentially unavoidable at this point, unless you want sample sizes of 150 (like the Boston Globe did the other day). Every pollster has the same problem to some extent.
Broad brush national numbers have tended to show McCain within striking distance (but still behind). I wonder how this jibes with Strategic Vision, which in the non-2000 McCain victory states shows a Rudy lead anywhere in the neighborhood of 10 to 20. And SV has tended to produce polling at the state level that's in line with most independent polling (on Santorum vs. Casey or Kean vs. Menendez).
Could it be the same dynamic at play where national numbers show a huge Democratic/liberal lean but when you go district by district things look somewhat better?
We'll see how things start shaking out in a week.