Rudy, Tough Hillary, and Sinking McCain

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FoxNews/Opinion Dynamics has an interesting new poll (story here, PDF of full results here). The poll gives Rudy Giuliani the largest lead over John McCain that I've seen in any poll (34 percent to 22 percent), and Giuliani has the highest approval rating of any politician in either party, but then there's this:

When voters are asked to name which candidate would be toughest on terrorism, Clinton (16 percent) edges Giuliani (15 percent) and McCain (15 percent) for the top spot by just 1 percentage point. Among Democrats, the highest percentage goes to Clinton (31 percent); Republicans split between Giuliani (28 percent) and McCain (24 percent).

You would think that Giuliani's popularity derives from the perception that he's the toughest on terrorism, so it's notable that in the same poll where he comes out as the most popular politician, Hillary Clinton, of all people, edges him out on the terrorism issue. The most plausible explanation is that Democrats perceive her as being the toughest on terrorism, while Republicans are divided between Giuliani and McCain. I wonder if the perception among Democrats that she'd aggressively fight terrorism is actually a negative in the primary.

 

In another recent poll, Rasmussen gives Rudy a 49 percent to 43 percent lead over Hillary in the general election, while McCain is statistically tied, but numerically ahead 45 percent to 44 percent. According to the poll, McCain has lost ground in matchups against all leading Democrats. The conventional wisdom attributes his sagging poll numbers to his prominent advocacy of President Bush's "surge" plan that has made him more associated with the Iraq War. If this is the case, I don't see how it helps Giuliani in the long term, given that Giuliani has also been an outspoken proponent of the plan, even though at this point his views on Iraq haven't gotten the attention that McCain's have. They will once the presidential election is in full swing.

 

One other thing worth noting. The fact that Hillary does so poorly in matchups against Giuliani and McCain at a time when the public mood is so anti-Republican, demonstrates how much trepidation there is over her becoming president.

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Rudy and McCain: Snubbing Conservatives

Jonathan Martin has a fair piece in the Politico pointing out that while Mitt Romney never misses a chance to address a conservative audience, John McCain and Rudy Giuliani have been giving conservatives the cold shoulder. Romney spoke at our annual dinner, at last weekend’s Conservative Summit hosted by the National Review, and has jumped at the chance to talk at tomorrow’s retreat for conservative House members as well as this year’s CPAC, just to name a few events. As long as conservatives are in the room, Romney seems willing to go to the opening of an envelope. It’s really baffling why McCain, and especially Giuliani, have snubbed conservative groups. Both of them have a lot of work to do to gain the trust of conservatives, who will be crucial to their winning the Republican nomination. Their absentee status reinforces the view that they aren’t comfortable in a room full of conservatives, and conveys a certain arrogance that conservatives aren’t worth their time. True, Giuliani was in New Hampshire last weekend and in South Carolina this weekend, so that explains his absence from the National Review event and the House conservative retreat, but this isn’t an isolated incident for Rudy-he’s been dissing conservatives for years. Any regular reader of this blog knows that I believe Rudy has a lot to offer conservatives, but he has to make that case for himself. The bottom line is that conservatives will have to feel some love from Giuliani and McCain before they’re ready to give some of that love back.