Is Charlie Cook Changing His Tune?
Yes, but very slightly. Here is Cook's latest analysis of Rudy's chances:
Can a candidate with Giuliani’s positions on social and cultural issues — pro-choice, supportive of gay rights and gun-control measures — win the Republican nomination? While it is true that social and cultural conservatives do not have enough influence to dictate who will get the GOP nod, can they veto someone who is anathema to them on their three most critical litmus test issues?
In February and again in August, the Cook Political Report/RT Strategies poll tested that proposition, asking Republicans and GOP-leaning independents the following:
“Thinking about Rudy Giuliani, some people say he really cleaned up New York City as mayor and made it a safer place, and then he showed real courage as a leader after the attack on the World Trade Center. Other people say that his views on some issues — because he is pro-choice on abortion, and supports gun control and gay rights — makes it hard for them to support him for president. Having heard that, which of the following two statements comes closer to your opinion: the Republicans should nominate Giuliani for president, or the Republicans should not nominate Giuliani for president?”
The pro-Giuliani share was 50 percent in February and 56 percent in August; the anti-Giuliani share was 43 percent in February and 38 percent in August.
If these numbers were to hold up in an actual fight for the nomination, Giuliani could win the nod, though it would likely be exceedingly bloody and divisive.
Of course, he does have to qualify his analysis at the end by stating he would "be shocked" if Rudy won the nomination. But perhaps this, along with Chuck Todd's article of last week, signals that we may be making progress with the "inside-the-beltway" types.