While he’s long been ahead in polls for the Republican nomination, up until now, inside the Beltway types have remained doubtful that Rudy could win. But even they are catching up. National Journal’s 2008 White House rankings are out, and for the first time, Giuliani is on top. NJ‘s Hotline blog introduces the new rankings by noting, “the issue stuff just doesn’t seem to be hurting Rudy Giuliani yet, and we can’t help but think that the early predictions of his doom were overstated.” Meanwhile, over at the Washington Post, Chris Cilliza, a longtime Rudy skeptic, has also placed the former mayor on top of his rankings. Just to put this in context, back in December, he ranked Rudy fourth, noting that his social views “would seem to disqualify him” and that “we’re still not convinced that he will ultimately jump into the race for real.” There are still a lot of Giuliani naysayers out there who argue that his support is shallow, and once primary voters learn more about his views on social issues, they’ll abandon him. Perhaps this theory will ultimately be proven correct, but one thing is for sure, up to this point in the race, his critics have been dead wrong. Those who continue to write off his chances may be eating their words this time next year.