The shakeup caused by the potential entry of Fred Thompson into the GOP primary field continued this week in the latest Rasmussen Reports weekly national poll of likely Republican primary voters. Last week, Rudy Giuliani was in front of Thompson by six points, 23%-17%. This week the two candidates are tied at 24%. Judging from the numbers, Thompson takes support away from all the other top tier candidates. Besides Giuliani’s slide, both McCain and Romney lost support since the last poll, with each of them falling into a third place tie with 11% support. This marks a four percent drop for Romney and three percent decrease for McCain. What is unclear is what is driving Thompson’s support.

The former Tennessee senator was viewed as politically conservative by 42% of those surveyed, moderate by 24%, and liberal by 3%. Interestingly, 30% of those asked said they were unsure. Giuliani is viewed as a conservative by 21% of those surveyed, as a moderate by 63%, and as liberal by 12%. It is obvious that Rudy isn’t convincing many conservatives. The kind of bounce that Thompson is experiencing is more like a flavor of the month/rejection of the choices voters have been offered so far. Remember, it was only 3 months ago that Giuliani had a big lead in the polls. This is a normal sort of bounce for an unannounced candidate. What is important here is that normally a new candidate takes support from one or two of their competitors, but Thompson hurts all three of the top Republicans, but the question is can he can maintain this support as an announced candidate?

Full GOP poll results

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 6:30 pm (ET) as the host of The Political Universe Radio Show at
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