With the Republicans debating today in Michigan, I though that this might be a good time to take a look at the latest Rasmussen Reports week Republican primary poll update. This week’s poll finds Rudy Giuliani holding a slim one point lead over Fred Thompson 23%-22%. The big mover of the past week was Mitt Romney. Romney gained two points and has now moved to 15%. Romney has not only put a little distance between himself and McCain, who is at 10%, but also is now within eight points of the top spot.
For Rudy Giuliani, the song remains the same for his presidential campaign. Giuliani has now been at 19%-23% for the past five weeks. His campaign has look of one that has completely plateaued out. It seems that every time he tries to shift to a more conservative position, there are some more moderate statements from his past that show up to derail him. The Giuliani campaign would be wise to stop trying to move him to the right, or make him more appealing to the social conservative crowd. He is who he is, and they are only hurting themselves by trying to change him.
Fred Thompson has now experienced four consecutive weeks of declining poll numbers. The thing that Thompson has working in his favor is that he is still a relative unknown, which means that voters still have a more open mind towards him. However, Thompson needs to perform well at his first debate in order to recapture the momentum that he has lost. Mitt Romney is in third, and he has settled into a consistently conservative message that seems to winning over some voters. If Thompson continues to bomb with social conservatives, Romney stands to benefit.
If fourth, John McCain continues to cling to the slight hope of needing a surprise win in one of the early voting states to keep his campaign going. If fifth is Mike Huckabee at 6%. Huckabee is a candidate who is looking more and more like a real threat in Iowa, and he needs a win there to elevate himself into major player status. Four other Republican candidates, Sam Brownback, Duncan Hunter, Tom Tancredo, and Ron Paul split 5% of the vote, and 19% of those polled remain undecided.
While I think that is a gross over exaggeration to believe that the debate in Michigan will make or break anyone, it is clear that there is a lot of pressure on Fred Thompson to deliver the goods today. If he is able to match Romney and Giuliani, than the race at the top becomes a legitimate three person contest. If he stumbles, or is unimpressive, it could leave Republican voters with a sour first impression. This race still may turn on how well Thompson can carry the conservative mantle.
Jason Easley is the politics editor at www.411mania.com/politics His column The Political Universe appears on Tuesdays and Fridays.
Jason is also the host of TPU Radio, which can be heard at www.blogtalkradio.com/thepoliticaluniverse every Sunday morning at 11 AM ET.
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