Monday, November 12, 2007

Julie Annie slips in the polls

WASHINGTON — Mayor Giuliani's hold on the front-runner's perch in the Republican presidential nomination is eroding, with two new polls showing that Mitt Romney is opening up a widening lead in New Hampshire, site of the first primary.

While Mr. Giuliani has maintained his lead in national polls and in several state surveys, the former Massachusetts governor is now comfortably ahead in both
Iowa and New Hampshire, two hotly contested early-voting states that have traditionally played a crucial role in determining the Republican nominee.

Mr. Romney opened up a 12-point lead over Mr. Giuliani in New Hampshire, 32% to 20%, in a Boston Globe/University of New Hampshire poll released yesterday. He leads in the state by 11 points in the latest Marist College poll, also released yesterday. Senator McCain of Arizona, who in an appearance yesterday on "Fox News Sunday" guaranteed a Granite State victory, is running third in both surveys.

The polls indicate that Mr. Romney has solidified his advantage and perhaps shifted the dynamic of the Republican race, after several surveys in September suggested Mr. Giuliani had closed the gap in New Hampshire. Mr. Romney has held a consistent double-digit lead since the summer in Iowa, where voters will cast the first presidential ballots in a caucus on January 3.

"Certainly he has to be seen as the front-runner now," a political scientist and pollster at the University of New Hampshire, Andrew Smith, said yesterday of Mr. Romney.

For Mr. Giuliani, the latest slide comes as he has put renewed emphasis on winning New Hampshire, hoping to prevent a sweep of the first two contests by Mr. Romney. If Mr. Romney won both Iowa and New Hampshire, it would give him a significant jolt of momentum heading into Michigan, South Carolina, and Florida, which hold primaries later in January.

Compounding the former mayor's problem is the recent federal indictment of a former New York police commissioner, Bernard Kerik, who Mr. Giuliani recommended to President Bush as a nominee for secretary of homeland security in 2004.

It is entirely possible that Romney will win the Republican nomination. I continue to support Fred Thompson, but if Romney wins the primary race I will have to problem supporting him.

I find it almost impossible to believe that the Republican rank and file will be so craven as to give the nomination to a liberal RINO whose positions on key issues like gun control and abortion is indistinguishable from Hillary Clinton's.

How does Romney/Thompson or Thompson/Romney sound for next year?