Skip to comments.Poll: McCain, Giuliani Top GOP In State (Alabama)
Posted on 04/30/2007 6:36:04 AM PDT by areafiftyone
Some nine months before Alabama's Republican presidential primary, U.S. Sen. John McCain and former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani are in a dead heat at the head of a crowded pack, although other candidates remain within striking distance, the results of a new Press-Register/University of South Alabama statewide poll suggest.
Among 402 likely GOP primary voters surveyed by phone, 23 percent said they would most likely back McCain, who represents Arizona, while 22 percent favored Giuliani, a one-time federal prosecutor who led New York City for eight years.
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney garnered 12 percent, followed by two prospective contenders who are still weighing whether to get into the 2008 race. Former U.S. Sen. Fred Thompson of Tennessee had 10 percent, while 7 percent of respondents opted for former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich of Georgia.
Several candidates registered 4 percent or less.
"It's still pretty much anybody's election," USA Polling Group Director Keith Nicholls said late last week.
The poll, conducted between April 21 and Wednesday, has a 5-percentage-point margin of error.
McCain, who mounted an unsuccessful presidential run in 2000, has spent much of the last two years seeking to build a national campaign that would be seen as unstoppable. But at 70, he has been handicapped by questions about his age and his steadfast support for the war in Iraq, some analysts say.
While competitive, Giuliani is running weaker in Alabama than the nation as a whole. He garnered 33 percent support in an NBC News/Wall Street Journal survey taken earlier this month.
Giuliani won nationwide acclaim for his performance in rallying New York City after the September 2001 terrorist attacks. But some Alabama Republicans may be put off by his support for abortion rights and other stands that leave him to the left of some of his rivals, Nicholls said.
And in a Bible Belt state, the past turmoil in Giuliani's personal life is another potential trouble spot. Now on his third marriage, he became involved with his current wife while still married to his second. More than half of those surveyed in the new Press-Register poll ranked character and morals as the most important factor in deciding which candidate to support.
Although some GOP voters may already be aware of Giuliani's previous domestic problems, Nicholls said, "I don't think they've tuned in to the extent that they will when these candidates begin going after each other."
The issue is one that Giuliani needs to address, said Jerry Lathan, a prominent Republican activist who recently hosted a fundraiser for Giuliani at his Theodore home.
At the same time, Lathan said, Giuliani is the only GOP contender capable of beating each of the possible Democratic nominees.
"Even if you find you don't agree with him on one or two issues," Lathan said, "I'd rather have 90 to 95 percent of a friend than 100 percent of a liberal enemy."
Alabama has tentatively scheduled both its Democratic and Republican presidential primaries for Feb. 5 of next year, although the Legislature has yet to give final approval to a bill allowing early voting in Mobile and Baldwin counties because that date coincides with Mardi Gras.
It will be the first time since 1988 that voters will cast ballots before their parties' nominations are decided. While the black vote will be crucial in the Democratic contest, "social issues are immensely important in the Republican Primary," said Marty Connors, a Romney backer and a former chairman of the Alabama Republican Party.
And unlike 2000, when the GOP establishment coalesced around George W. Bush relatively early, the Republican field now is wide open and still growing. On Thursday, after the USA Polling Group had finished its calls, former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore officially jumped into the race.
Despite the large lineup, many Republican voters so far appear underwhelmed, other polls indicate.
In a statewide survey taken during late February and early March, 52 percent of those sampled said their choice could change, said Gerald Johnson, director of the Capital Survey Research Center, associated with the Alabama Education Association, which conducted the poll.
Although state Rep. Joe Faust, R-Fairhope, has endorsed McCain, for example, he said in an interview last week that he could just as easily back Giuliani.
"I think both of them are good," Faust said.
Among other parts of the Republican electorate, that restlessness has fueled interest in a run by Thompson, a part-time actor familiar to many television viewers as District Attorney Arthur Branch on the NBC series "Law & Order."
But Thompson, who recently acknowledged that he is in remission after a bout with cancer, hasn't signaled that he will enter the race. Gingrich is also holding back from a decision.
If either or both ultimately decide to stay out, the question then becomes where their supporters will go. Such uncertainties hearten backers of other candidates who are currently trailing.
"Presidential elections are a lot like the Kentucky Derby," Connors said in an e-mail. "Pace horses rarely win. Look for the horse that comes off the pace."
Romney garnered only 3 percent in the AEA-backed poll, Connors noted in an interview. "I'm frankly a little shocked that he's up to double digits."
Like politicians in any race, however, the candidates will to some extent be held hostage to events beyond their control. That may be especially true for McCain, who has been outspoken in his support of the Bush administration's plan to send more troops to Iraq in hopes of stabilizing the country.
But unless conditions there improve within the next few weeks or months, Nicholls said, McCain's candidacy could become a casualty as voters decide that "he's backed the wrong horse."
Sorry areafiftyone, but you’re hopelessly naive if you honestly believe the people of the state of Alabama are going to vote for Rudy Giuliani once his views are well known by the time the primary rolls around to that state. Your shilling has reached “stuck on stupid” levels.
LOL! Whatever you say. To be honest now that Newt is going to enter the race things will get even more interesting.
Too bad Rudy Giuliani is about 85% of a liberal enemy.
Well I don’t have time to deal with this day old thread. I have new ones to go to. Have a great day.
Why do you say Newt is going to enter? We don’t need that lemon.
No, I try to give you some peace now and then. LOL
It looks like its still speculative. I hope he has more sense than to run. then again, does he even have a job?
LOL! It is still speculative but I think the more FT gets into the race the more Newt’s ego is going to take a beating. That means Newt needs to run.
Real quick, and I’ll leave this thread, are you a male or female areafiftyone? I’ve never known and am curious. I’ve seen people call you “him” and others “her”.
Yep, we can have conservative clubs and liberal clubs. The conservatives have found a home here. The liberals have been ejected or opused to other clubs or liberal candidates. It's great we have our FREEDOM where we can share ideas with like minded friends and can expect that disruptors will be sent packin. JimRob is the best.
That’s my problem with him. Heavy on the ego, light on the common sense.
> Why do you say Newt is going to enter? We dont need that lemon.
If we wanted a candidate with the morals of a goat in heat, we’d go with Rudy.
If the south goes for Rudy, I’m giving up politics forever.
Well, personal baggage aside, Newt’s new “green” conservatism is only shades better than Algore’s version.
Plus he only talks a good game. When Clinton counterpunched him, he went down like a glass jawed pansy.
I live in Alabama and they sure as hell did not ask me on this poll. I will not vote for either the loud mouthed fool McScream or the liberal cross-dresser Rudi.
He will wind up as a political commentator and writer.
He isn’t going to jump in to save Rooty from the united conservative base for Fred Thompson.
The time for name recognition only polls is coming to a close...
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