The weekly Rasmussen Reports 2008 Republican presidential primary poll updateÂ was released yesterday, and it found Rudy Giuliani and Fred Thompson still locked in a tight race for the partyâ€™s nomination. Giuliani leads Thompson 24%-23%. This week marked the fourth straight where Giuliani has had the lead, but unlike Hillary Clinton on the Democratic side, the former New York City mayor isnâ€™t building support or gaining momentum. For five of the past six weeks he has been at either 24% or 25%. Thompson saw his numbers rebound slightly this week, but after having a red hot stretch from mid June to early July, he has been under 25% for the past four weeks.
Mitt Romney stayed in third place with 13%, and John McCain is nipping at his heels with 12%. This is the tenth consecutive week that Romneyâ€™s support has been in the 12%-14% range. While the almost, but not quite, dead campaign of John McCain held the exact same level of support that they had the previous week. However his total support has hovered at 10%-12% for the last three months. Mike Huckabee remained in fourth at five percent, while Ron Paul, Tom Tancredo, Sam Brownback and Duncan Hunter split 4%. Eighteen percent of Republicans remained undecided.
What I see in these numbers is a race that is starting to take shape. Giuliani and Thomson are the serious contenders, while Romney and McCain represent fallback positions for the social conservatives and moderates respectively. One of the more puzzling elements of this race is the inability of Mike Huckabee to break through. Huckabee is more conservative that Giuliani, Romney, and McCain, but he seems to be being ignored by voters who are looking for an even more conservative candidate. The other four candidates in the race are probably going to be squeezed out by a combination of a lack of fundraising and the frontloaded primary system. This race is still volatile, but it is starting to become more consistent.
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