Rudy is 2008's Electoral Titan
I just can't stop playing with the SurveyUSA 50 state poll that was released on Monday. It's really addictive for anyone who is obsessed with presidential elections.
For those that are unfamiliar, SurveyUSA released the results of the first 50 state 2008 poll. By a 50 state poll, I mean that all 50 states were surveyed individually and for almost all of the GOP and Dem field. For example, you can select Hillary vs. Newt and see the results of the matchup in all 50 states. It's really groundbreaking.
Of course, the insight we gain from this poll is somewhat limited at this point due to problems with name ID. So we really only get a true picture of the potential matchups at this point for those candidates with nearly universal name ID. I would include McCain, Giuliani, Clinton, Kerry, Edwards, Gore, Gingrich, and Rice in this group.
Without running afoul of the SurveyUSA people by divulging specific numbers, there are several things that stand out; but you will have to trust me when I say the news couldn't be better for Rudy fans. I really wish I could tell you just how much Rudy dominates the field.
First of all, it can be stated plainly that Giuliani and McCain are the GOP's "silver bullets" for 2008, besting every Dem challenger in the field. But perhaps to the surprise of professional pundits, McCain's support appears to be softer than Rudy's and more regionally dispersed.
Essentially McCain's base of power is of course in the Sunbelt and the upper Midwest. The level of support McCain garners in MN, MI, WI, IA, ND, and SD really is worth noting as it holds against nearly every challenger.
I say nearly, because the Dem who takes these states from McCain, as well as several Southern states, is John Edwards. To me this further illustrates that a Democrat with appeal to independents and conservative Democrats would pose a very serious challenge to McCain. These voters are not going to pull the lever when push comes to shove for a John Kerry, Hillary Clinton, or Al Gore (I would throw Obama in here too, but that is a discussion for another time). However, they more than likely will vote with the Democrats if they are given a choice that they perceive as more "moderate" or populist like Edwards or Evan Bayh. If McCain doesn't walk away with the Independent vote, he may not be able to overcome his soft support among conservatives. I have heard conservative pundits bemoan that McCain's electoral prowess is greatly exaggerated, but until now I have never seen any empirical evidence of it.
Rudy's support in the Upper Midwest holds strong no matter who you pair him against. He is every bit as strong as McCain in the region without having to worry about who his Dem challenger will be.
What makes Giuliani appear to be more formidable than McCain at this point is that Rudy appears to be able to win all of the independent and conservative dems that McCain attracts while keeping conservatives in the fold. The Giuliani vs. Edwards matchup in this poll isn't even close. If I could tell you the outcome of the McCain vs. Edwards poll your jaws would drop.
Regarding Hillary, we can see that she is a Dem that will finally win some southern states, as she will most likely win her adopted home state of Arkansas and has a better than 50/50 chance to take Missouri with it. Hillary is also very strong in Florida, which comes as no surprise with it's thousands of New York transplants. Only Rudy bests Hillary there currently.
It is important for Republicans to consider that the electoral combination that Dubya won with in 2000 & 2004 (sweep the South, Sunbelt, and Mountain West; lose everything else) may not be possible against Hillary in 2008. It is very easy to see how Hillary could win every state that Kerry won plus AR, MO, & FL which would bring her to 295 in the Electoral College. New Mexico would be another state prime to drop for Hillary (against the right candidate) which would bring her to 300. How would a candidate without a regional base like Mitt Romney fair in this scenario?
Speaking of regional bases, it's worth mentioning the potential "Battle for New York", which would really be fought on 1-3 fronts depending upon the GOP candidate.
Nominating McCain makes the "Battle of New York" a one front battle, and not in the GOP's favor. Hillary of course will win NY, but the Florida contest would likely turn into a replay of 2000 where the outcome was decided in court. The impact of thousands of New York transplants that will vote for Hillary makes this a battle in which she would have to be favored to win at this point.
Nominating Rudy makes the "Battle for New York" a three front war in the GOP's favor. Rudy and Hillary are essentially tied in NY at this point. However, Rudy flips NJ and keeps Florida red. The impact of the Democrat Party being forced to dump millions into two of the most expensive media markets in the nation cannot be underestimated.
We are still a long ways off, but this very unique poll has given us some clues as to how 2008 will play out.
The one conclusion we can draw is that Rudy is the one electoral titan of the 2008 field in any party.