This weekâ€™s Rasmussen Reports poll update finds Rudy Giuliani leading still undeclared, but actively campaigning, candidate Fred Thompson by four percent. Giuliani leads Thompson 25%-21%. This is within the pollâ€™s margin of error, so Giulianiâ€™s â€œleadâ€ is a bit more like a statistical tie. It is the third time in four weeks that Giuliani has been at exactly 25%. With two exceptions, Giulianiâ€™s numbers have been stuck in the 23%-25% range since June 26. Prior to May 8, Giuliani had never been below 25% in this poll, but since then he has only been above this mark three times.
If the Giuliani campaign has hit a bit of a rut, the Thompson camp has not been able to capitalize yet. Thompson has experienced a decline in his support over each of the last five weeks. While his drop of a point a week may not seem that serious, Thompson has also lost support in nine of the past 10 weeks. Some of this slip may be attributed to a natural decline as voters get to know a bit more about him, but Thompson also hasnâ€™t been helped by some less than stellar campaign appearances in Iowa. Thompson, though, has an easier road than Giuliani who is still struggling to convince conservatives to support him as one of their own. It seems that his recent moves to the right, especially on immigration, have not convinced many.
I was called a bigot last week for making the point that despite his wealth and saying all the right things, social conservatives are staying away from Mitt Romney, because he is a Mormon, but the numbers say that Mitt is still struggling. Â Romney remained in third place at 14%. This was the fourth straight week for him at 14%. All told, Romney hasnâ€™t been above this number since June 5. He doesnâ€™t seem to connecting at all with socially conservative voters. John McCain remained in fourth at 12%. This is a two percent increase from last week, and his highest level in the past six weeks. McCain is still a long shot, but he appears to be more comfortable in the underdog role.
Mike Huckabee didnâ€™t gain anything, but a Sunday of media attention, from his second place finish in the Iowa straw poll. He is fifth with 4% support. Tom Tancredo, Ron Paul, Duncan Hunter, and Sam Brownback split 4% of the vote, and 19% are undecided. The fact that undecided is the third most popular candidate in the race should tell you a great deal. After a flurry of volatility, the GOP race has settled into a consistent pattern, but almost a fifth of those asked are still holding out their support.
It remains to be seen if Thompson can carry the conservative banner, or if one of the other top tier moderates can convince more conservatives to support them. It is really looking like many voters are waiting for sometone better, and if one of these candidates can step up, the Republican nomination is still very much there for the taking. Â
Jason Easley is the editor of the politics zone at 411mania.com. Â His news column The Political Universe appears on Tuesdays and Fridays at www.411mania.com/politicsÂ
Jason can also be heard every Sunday at 7:00 pm (ET) as the host of The Political Universe Radio Show at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/thepoliticaluniverse