2000 Polling: A Look Back

Rudy skeptics may be dismissive of the new Washington Post/ABC News poll that shows Rudy up over McCain 44-21, arguing that a lot can change in the next 11 months. I wouldn’t dispute that. However, I thought it would be interesting to compare these numbers to polls at this time in the 2000 election. I visited Polling Report, and found the following poll from February 1999:

Republican Leadership Council Poll conducted by Greg Strimple & Associates (R). February 1-4, 1999. N=408 likely Republican voters nationwide.

“If the Republican primary election for president were held today and the candidates were [see below], for whom would you vote?”

George W. Bush 40

Elizabeth Dole 27

Dan Quayle 9

Steve Forbes 6

John McCain 3

Gary Bauer 2

Lamar Alexander 1

Undecided 12

Clearly, a lot did change. Dole never ran, and McCain shot up in the polls like a rocket. But it is worth noting that at the time this poll was taken, Bush was considered a shoe-in to win the nomination, and he ultimately triumphed. Yet Giuliani’s lead in current polls is much larger than Bush’s was 8 years ago, and a lot of political commentators still say that he can’t win the nomination.

UPDATE: Sean Higgins in comments:

Actually Dole did run in 2000. She came in third in Iowa, then dropped out when it was apparent she wasn’t going anywhere.

I regret the oversight.