This weekâ€™s Rasmussen Reports Republican poll update found that Rudy Giuliani has rebounded after several down weeks to take a ten point lead over Fred Thompson, 29%-19%. For Thompson, the Republican debate last weekÂ in Michigan was unable to reverse a trend of slipping poll numbers. His three point decline this week puts him at his lowest level of support since June 5. The former Tennessee senator has experienced declining support for the past five weeks.
For Rudy Giuliani, this week is a six point improvement. His increasing support possibly came from a solid, if not spectacular, debate performance. Compared to Thompson, Giuliani definitely looked like the stronger candidate. This is the first time that Rudy has been this close to 30% support since May 1. I donâ€™t think this bump for Giuliani came from anything he did, but represents more of what Thompson and Romney didnâ€™t do. Speaking of Mitt Romney, he is third in this weekâ€™s poll at 14%. This is a small one point drop from last week, but it is right in the 10%-15% range that Romney has been pulling all year.
In fourth, still sits John McCain at 10%. McCainâ€™s campaign is in the red, and he rolling the dice on a last gasp bid to recapture his 2000 magic in New Hampshire. So far McCain is running a strong third there, but without a win, his campaign is likely over. In fifth Mike Huckabee gained a little ground, and is now at 7%. Huckabee is currently in fourth in Iowa, and he needs a top tier finish to keep his presidential campaign alive. It is possible that Huckabee could pass McCain for fourth, but that would require him to break double digits in this poll, which he hasnâ€™t done all year.
Sam Brownback and Ron Paul have each separated themselves from the bottom pack and are now at 2% and 1% respectively, which is good for sixth and seventh place. Heading up the rear are Duncan Hunter and Tom Tancredo who each had their totals rounded up to 1%. Sixteen percent of Republicans remain undecided. Â Brownback has already announced that if he doesnâ€™t finish in the top four in Iowa, he will drop out of the race. I would expect Tancredo and Hunter to drop out then as well.
Overall, the GOP race is still unclear. Romney should win in Iowa, and he might win in New Hampshire. Thompson looks strong in South Carolina, and Giuliani should win in Florida. He also could catch Romney in New Hampshire. Each of the top campaigns is using a different strategy early in the race, but the Giuliani campaign is poised to take off on February 5, 2008. The Republican nomination fight looks like one that might go across the country, and not be settled until the convention.
Jason Easley is the politics editor at www.411mania.com/politics His column The Political Universe appears on Tuesdays and Fridays.
Jason is also the host of TPU Radio, which can be heard at www.blogtalkradio.com/thepoliticaluniverse every Sunday morning at 11 AM ET.