This week’s Rasmussen Reports Republican primary poll update finds Fred Thompson maintaining a small four point lead over Rudy Giuliani, 26%-22%. Thompson’s support actually dipped two points last week, but he was still able to record his third best number since July 3. It seems clear that Thompson’s lackluster performance on the campaign trail has halted his momentum just a bit. The idea that Fred Thompson could enter this race late and capitalize on a surge of support to carry him to the nomination, now seems highly unlikely. If the former Tennessee senator is to win the GOP nomination, it looks like he will have to battle it out all over the country.

It getting hard to believe that for a brief time early in this campaign Rudy Giuliani was poised to break into the 40% range of support. Giuliani has now spent thirteen of the past fourteen weeks at 25% or less. His last three weeks have been in the 19%-23% range. Rudy has been unable to win over the socially conservative wing of the party. His appearance in front of the NRA convention was uncomfortable to say the least, but Giuliani will do well in the North East and the “Blue States” He may be the best candidate to run against Hillary Clinton in the general election, but he is a mediocre Republican.

In third place is Sen. John McCain, who seems to have settled in right around his current level of support at 14%. McCain is still a long shot for the nomination, but it is amazing that his campaign is even still operational after all the hard times they have had. McCain’s presidntial bid will only pick up if he pulls a shocker and wins in one of the early states, or if the Iraq war turns around.

Mitt Romney is fourth at 12%, and his whole strategy is based around early victories in Iowa, New Hampshire, and Michigan. The problem for Romney is that if he doesn’t win early, his campaign will be finished. Unlike Thompson and Giuliani, Romney has no geographic base of support. Even if Romney wins Iowa and New Hampshire, he will be counting on momentum to carry him in other states. His personal wealth will allow Romney to stay in the race, but much like McCain, he needs Thompson or Giuliani to stumble.

Mike Huckabee remains in fifth place at 6%, while Ron Paul, Duncan Hunter, Tom Tancredo, and Sam Brownback each split 4% of the support. Seventeen percent of Republicans remained undecided. This race is starting to turn into a battle of deeply flawed candidates. Thompson and Giuliani are no sure thing. Romney and McCain are waiting around either frontrunner to stumble and create an opportunity, and the rest of the field is just trying to break through and get some attention. I suspect that this race will come down to the end with Republican voters forces to choose between the most tolerable of several weak options.

Rasmussen Reports weekly tracking poll history

Rasmussen Reports related article

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

 Jason is also the host of TPU Radio, which can be heard at every Sunday morning at 11 AM ET



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