Giuliani Blog Tracking the likely Presidential candidacy of Rudy Giuliani

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Romney: Failure to launch?

The ABC/Washington Post poll that The Bij reports on below contains a lot of good news for Giuliani, and not just the fact that he's the top choice of GOP voters, at 34% to McCain's 26%.

To me the most significant is that Mitt Romney scored only 5% support among GOP voters (1,005 adults in the sample, but I didn't see a party breakdown). I have always considered Romney the biggest threat to a Giuliani nomination.

Sure, McCain is the media frontrunner and a solid second place in polls, but he has a "50% problem". Whether its his age, his habit of thumbing his nose at Republican policies or his status as a Beltway insider, I think McCain can never put together enough support to get the GOP nomination. (This poll found McCain's favorability rating is also dropping with independents.)

But back to Romney: this is a guy who has been working hard, attracting money and staff. He's a Beltway outsider and plays well as a blue state governor. He's had one wife and apparently treated her well; he's from a respected political family and has been a successful businessman. But it's not happening for him. All he's got to show is a three-point margin on Pataki?

OK, caveats: this is just one poll, it's early, and name recognition plays a big part.

But how long does Romney bash his head against the wall? Another bad data point: 35% of those polled said they would be less likely to vote for a Mormon.

More good news for Giuliani is Gingrich's 12% showing in third place. What is the message here? I'm not sure, but it says to me that Giuliani's one unvarnishable weak spot -- he's a bad husband -- is not a top issue for GOP voters. This issue is not a winner for McCain or Gingrich, much less Mrs. Clinton.

Is Gingrich's momentum a worry? No, he's electorally radioactive and Republicans generally do an OK job of nominating someone who can win.

Finally, the poll measured Giuliani as by far the politician with the best favorability across party lines: 67%, way ahead of Hillary Clinton at 56% and McCain at 50%. What was I just saying about electability?

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