Thompson gets a huge bounce... while Democrats are stable!
by FrenchSocialist, Mon Sep 10, 2007 at 08:34:50 PM EDT
Fred Thompson finally jumped in the Republican race last week, and voters seem to be responding. Two new polls indicate that Thompson did receive a bounce, and is closing in on Giuliani's frontrunner status. As for every bounce, the question is how long will Thompson be able to keep his momentum going - and whether the bounce will subside. The national Democratic race, by contrast, is remarkably static -- and will likely remain so until early January.
More at Campaign Diaries.
The first poll is Rasmussen's daily tracking poll. Thompson has the lead for the first time since July, as he leads Giuliani 26% to 22% with Romney at 13% and McCain at 12%. While his advantage is certainly minimal, it reflects a clear improvement since last week's numbers and challenges the notion that Giuliani has a significant edge in national polls. Rasmussen provides internal numbers that show that most of Thompson's progress is among the conservative wing of the GOP, which is consistent with Thompson's presenting himself as the perfect conservative:
Thompson's gains since announcing have come primarily among conservatives likely to vote in a Republican Primary. In polling completed since his announcement, Thompson leads Giuliani by 12-points among conservative primary voters. That's up from a five-point edge before the announcement.
And then came news that a new SUSA poll of California shows Thompson dramatically closing the gap. Giuliani leads with 28%, in a statistical tie with Thompson who is at 26%. McCain (18%) and Romney (14%) close the march. SUSA wants again confirms Thompson appeals most to Law-and-Order watching conservatives:
Thompson now leads, if there were a Republican Primary in California today, among men, Conservatives, Pro-Life voters, among those opposed to stem-cell research, among those opposed to same-sex marriage, among gun owners, among those age 65+, and among those who think global warming is made-up.
What is most stunning about these numbers is the dramatic changearound from last month. An August SUSA poll of California showed Giuliani with a 20% lead, 39% to Thompson's 19%. And the reason is the same as in the Rasmussen poll: "Among Conservatives, Giuliani had led by 13, now trails Thompson by 9, a 22-point swing."
The California numbers are very significant, because Giuliani has been counting on the big states voting in late January and early February to give him unbeatable momentum. Perhaps already resigned to a poor showing in Iowa and Michigan, he is banking on Florida, New York and California to propell him to the nomination, apparently betting that his moderate positions on social issues and messy family history will hurt him less on the coasts than in the heartland. But the Republican primary voter in California does not seem that different than the one in Iowa, and Thompson is benefiting from conservative support. It is hard to see how Giuliani recovers from a poor showing in a state like California. And he can't even count on momentum going out of the early states! (You will notice that I have always been dubious of Giuliani's chances of winning the nomination. Not necessarely because of his perceived moderation, but rather because I do not see how he can escape his weakness in the early-voting states. But since I tend to think that Giuliani would be the strongest Republican in a general election (god knows why though) this might all be wishful thinking!!).
By contrast, the Democratic side is remarkably static. The California poll has the three major candidates stable since last month's numbers. Clinton at 51%, Obama at 27% and Edwards at 14%. Similarly, the Rasmussen national numbers have Clinton leading 43% to Obama's 22% and Edwards's 16%, roughly where the race has been for the past few months. It remains unlikely national numbers of late-voting state numbers will change until Iowa votes, and Obama and Edwards will hardly try taking Clinton down of her national lead before the early states start voting.
More at Campaign Diaries.