According to the most recently released Rasmussen Reports weekly Republican poll results, Rudy Giuliani and still undeclared candidate Fred Thompson are engaged in a race for the GOP nomination that is a virtual dead heat. Thompson and Giuliani both have 25% support. John McCain and Mitt Romney have continued to battle it out for third. Romney has 12%, McCain 11%, and 17% are undecided. No other candidate in the Republican field pulls more than 4%. The real story here continues to be Fred Thompson. Rasmussen Reports also does a daily tracking poll, and Thompson has led Giuliani on every day but one for over two weeks now. In the daily tracking poll, Thompson led Giuliani 25%-24% on Monday and 26%-24% today. The biggest lead that Thompson has ever had in the daily poll was 5 points.

In the weekly polls, it has been two months since Giuliani last led Thompson. Giuliani has seen his support erode from a high of 37% in March to a low of 21% last week. It has been six weeks since Giuliani last broke 25%. It has been 13 weeks since he was last at 30% or higher. In the last three months, Giuliani’s support has been between 21%-25%. On the other hand, Fred Thompson has not been below 24% in two months. Out of all the Republicans, he is the one that can be described as on the up swing. While his competitors are trending down, Thompson has posted his best numbers in three of the last seven weeks. Much like Hillary Clinton on the Democratic side, Thompson has seen his numbers steadily climb.

Mitt Romney continues to struggle to gain ground on the top two. Romney has been stuck at 12% for four straight weeks, and has never registered more than 16% since the weekly poll began in January. This high water mark came on May 29, and he has stayed stuck at 11%-15% ever since. Romney needs to win in Iowa and New Hampshire in order to even have a chance at the nomination. Since January 23, John McCain’s support has been literally sliced in half. In January McCain was at 22%, now he is at 11%. McCain has spent ten consecutive weeks between 11%-14%. His campaign already looks like it is on life support.

The big question that the pundits are debating is will the Fred Thompson honeymoon last with GOP primary voters? My guess is that it probably won’t, but he will hold strong. Those who think Thompson will fade seem to be basing their conclusion on their evaluation of Thompson the candidate. The people who are thinking this way are missing the point. Fred Thompson doesn’t have to be a great candidate to win the nomination. All he needs to do is be more conservative than Giuliani, McCain, and Romney. GOP primary voters aren’t sold on any of the top current candidates and seem to be looking for a more traditional type of Republican. In other words, they are looking for the anti-Rudy. If Thompson can fill this role, he has a good chance to win the Republican nomination. Republicans appear to want an alternative, and Fred Thompson is in the best position to provide them with one.

Weekly poll update

Daily poll update 

Jason Easley is the editor of the politics zone at  His news column The Political Universe appears on Tuesdays and Fridays at

Jason can also be heard every Sunday at 7:00 pm (ET) as the host of The Political Universe Radio Show at


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