Saturday, June 23, 2007

A couple more interesting notes from the polls

Montana Headlines has noted before that Mitt Romney is staking everything on winning the first two contests of the season (Iowa and New Hampshire.) He is pouring tons of his ample supply of money into those states, hoping that wins there will give him the momentum to get him out of fourth place.

By contrast, Rudy Guiliani is riding his lead in the nation-wide polls, hoping to score solidly in those states, but then clean up in the rush of big early February primaries.

While the big news in the last round of Mason-Dixon polls was that Fred Thompson had taken the lead in South Carolina (third in the nation and first in the South,) a less-noticed item was that the last Mason-Dixon poll in Iowa had Fred Thompson move solidly into second place behind Romney (25% to 17%,) sliding ahead of Guiliani.

John McCain continues his slide in Iowa, falling behind (at 6%) even long-shot Mike Huckabee (at 7%,) and being tied with even longer-shot Sam Brownback.

Given that Iowa is a "retail politics" state where an organization is essential for the caucuses, and where the other candidates have practically lived for months, this is remarkable for Thompson. Whether he can get his supporters to the caucuses is another question.


The last post mentioned the latest Newsweek poll -- what wasn't mentioned in that post (since it really didn't fit in with the themes) was that it was yet another poll confirming Fred Thompson's solid second-place position.

Second place is actually a very good position for Thompson, since he won't attract the fire that a front-runner gets. Romney is drawing hard fire from the McCain camp, which understands that only one of the two of them will survive the early rounds. He is also drawing fire because of his front-runner status in Iowa and New Hampshire. Guiliani draws fire because of his nation-wide front-runner status.

As the minor candidates, who by and large are far more conservative than the front-runners, drop out of the race, their support is likely to go to the next most conservative candidate -- Thompson. He could easily find himself peaking in time for the early February primaries, on a roll from a likely win in South Carolina.

He will still need to convince voters that he can do as well against Clinton or the other Democrats as can Guiliani -- that is the big unknown.

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