August 3, 2005


Election 2008: Republican Candidates Fare Better in Early Trial Heats (Jeffrey M. Jones, 8/03/05, GALLUP NEWS SERVICE)

The July 25-28 Gallup Poll asked Americans to rate four politicians whom many currently consider the early front-runners in the next presidential election. This is based in part on their relatively high public profiles, on the belief that they are thought to be seriously considering presidential runs in 2008, and also on early polling by Gallup and other organizations on Republicans' and Democrats' preferences for their respective parties' nominees in the next election.

Of the four, Giuliani is rated most positively, with 64% of Americans saying they have a favorable opinion of him and only 19% with an unfavorable opinion. Clinton (53%) and McCain (51%) have similar favorable ratings, although Clinton is the much better-known figure (only 4% do not have an opinion of her, compared with 27% for McCain). Clinton's unfavorable ratings (43%) are nearly twice as high as McCain's (22%).

Kerry is the only candidate of the four with higher unfavorables (48%) than favorables (42%).

It's a pretty easy race for the GOP--there's just a huge portion of the population that won't even consider Ms Clinton (in fact, a higher % have an unfavorable opinion of her than voted for her husband in '92--pretty remarkable).

The most interesting dynamic here though is that John McCain could easily become the beneficiary of the samew forces that stopped him in '00. If Mayor Guiliani fails to have a come-to-Jesus moment on abortion then Senator McCain is the pro-life candidate. Nor need he be over-the-top about it. A simple pledge to only appoint judges like Rehnquist, Scalia, Thomas, and Roberts and he's home free.

Posted by Orrin Judd at August 3, 2005 6:03 PM

I agree that Guiliani needs to adjust his position on abortion, primarily by explicitly indicating his support for Judges likely to overule Roe v Wade. Your title implies he will not find SC supportive. I disagree, I think he will be very popular in the South (and SC) and should be able handle McCain, who by the way will be 70 something years old.

Of course I thought Bush would blowaway Al Gore. So forget everything I just said.

Posted by: h-man at August 3, 2005 6:26 PM

Rudy Giuliani will not be the '08 GOP Presidential nominee.

Hopefully, however, he will enter the primaries with high support, so that I can get good odds when betting against his candidacy.

Posted by: Michael Herdegen at August 3, 2005 7:04 PM

McCain v Giuliani. This is the reverse of the typical Presidential campaign for me. Rather than dealing with the fact that the kind of candidate I would want is eliminated, I can relax comfortable in the knowledge that at least someone with whom I'm comfortable will be the nominee.

Posted by: bart at August 3, 2005 8:25 PM

A McCain-Giuliani race would be interesting to watch from the media angle. There's really very little to seperate the two on the non-social policy issues, so if there is a strong early showing by Rudy in the northeastern primaries, you could have McCain stressing his stance on abortion, which would put him at odds with his supporters at the big media outlets.

Of course, these same people are going to stick a shiv in him anyway come the general election, if he does get the nomination. So better McCain figures out the truth about his "friends" in South Carolina in February than in the middle of the first presidential debate in September.

Posted by: John at August 3, 2005 9:04 PM

In a McCain/Giuliani matchup, McCain wins easily--unless someone like George Allen comes in and splits the idealisitic conservatives away from those who just want to win and are willing to put a "maverick" conservative in in order to win. Then Giulani has a chance to win. McCain can cut that off at the pass if he quickly offers Allen (or whoever) the Veep slot and promises or implies he will only serve one term.

That seems a pretty likely scenario, which is a shame, because I'd like to see Jeb or Condi as a McCain Veep instead. Still--we'd win, and someone once told me that there is not substitute for that sort of thing.

Posted by: Timothy at August 3, 2005 10:28 PM

My brother was in South Carolinqa on business last week, and confirmed what I have been hearing from clients for several months now: a lot of folks who you wouldn't expect to have anything to do with Giuliani are disposed to give him a chance. They seem more willing to give McCain another look than I had been hearing, but my brother's summary report is "He's on probation."

Posted by: Dan at August 3, 2005 10:51 PM


Posted by: Robert Schwartz at August 3, 2005 10:54 PM

John and his gang of 7 can't be too helpful, either, in SC.

Posted by: Sandy P at August 3, 2005 11:46 PM

rudy will have mc cain raining spittle into the crowd in less than 5 minutes.

Posted by: cjm at August 4, 2005 12:25 AM

Guns, guns, guns. Gun control is not the issue, is has now become a matter of expansion of gun rights. There are lots of issues here: right to carry, range construction and protection, no-net-loss rules for hunting lands, access to wilderness areas, and countless conservation matters, not to mention judicial appointments.

Some of these questions are purely state matters, some are federal and many are mixed. Prospective candidates will have to weigh in.

Posted by: Lou Gots at August 4, 2005 12:30 AM

Rudy is not what you call a social conservative, but he is sure as all hell a fiscal conservative!!
Living in NYC my whole life Iíve watched Rudy grow from a glory seeking prosecutor to a pretty dam good Mayor. He gets it!!
He understands and has mastered the core basics that can get you electedÖÖ. Anti-Crime, tough of terror and fiscal prosperity for those who want to work for it.
Trust me when I say that he was HATED in certain quarters of this fine city. He cut back by more then half the welfare role call number from when he started, Rudy slashed and burned his way through many of the social handouts that democrats hold so dear and true.
People may not agree with him on his stance on abortion or gay rights, but they understand that sometimes disagreements can be a good thing to spur dialog among the party, something the Democrats seem to have forgotten. Heís honest about his opinions and will defend his positions with a well thought argument. Not everybody agrees with everything Bush does, but they agree with him on enough agendas to support him 100%. At this point Iíll take someone who would have no problem taking a veto pen to some pork barrel spending right now and get this budget under control, so Iíll bite the inside of my cheek on other items if thatís what it takes. Rudy has proven that he can take on the BIG JOBS and get it done. I think at this point saw what he did for NYC and say to themselves, if he can make a change there, he can make it anywhere. So lets give him a good long look!

Posted by: bdawg65 at August 4, 2005 9:05 AM

I just don't see how McCain has any chance with GOP primary voters. They (correctly) suspect his pro-life stance is weak and will quickly melt as he curries favor with his fans on the NY Times editorial board.

Pro-lifers won't be wild about Rudy, either, but at least Giuliani doesn't look like a suck-up to liberal media outlets.

McCain will also be a million years old, and he'll look it. He'll also be a former loser in the GOP primaries, and he'll look it. He'll does much worse than Rudy on TV, and he will almost certainly lose any debates with Giuliani.

If it comes down to Rudy vs. McCain in the GOP primaries, the Arizona guy gets slaughtered.

But I still think Jeb will somehow, some way, on some distant planet in some distant galaxy...find a way to run in 2008.

Posted by: Casey Abell at August 4, 2005 12:05 PM

By the way, I'm not surprised that Kerry's unfavorables have jumped. Americans don't like losers, especially the sore variety. Hillary will always have high unfavorables, especially among males, because of her winsome personality.

She's been trying to play Ms. Moderate the past few months, but that doesn't seem to be fooling anybody. Probably because her cold, calculating self looks...cold and calculating.

Posted by: Casey Abell at August 4, 2005 12:16 PM


You hit the nail on the head with Hillary!

Posted by: LC at August 4, 2005 12:35 PM


Ditto George H. W. Bush and Bob Dole--it's a hierarchical party and it's McCain's turn.

Posted by: oj at August 4, 2005 2:40 PM


Lindsay Graham(R-SC) is a member of the 'Gang of Seven.'

Posted by: bart at August 4, 2005 2:49 PM

Casey, while I've got you here: what's the deal with Clemens? Is he really still that good, or is it just some designer juice they haven't figured out how to test for yet?

Posted by: joe shropshire at August 4, 2005 3:02 PM