Monday, January 28, 2008

The latest from Rasmussen

A week ago, Rasmussen Reports noted that if John McCain wins Florida, he may be close to unstoppable in the race for the Republican nomination. Nothing has happened in the past week to alter that assessment, but McCain’s prospects in Florida remain far from certain. The Arizona Senator finds himself in a Sunshine State toss-up with former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney. (Today's Daily Presidential Tracking Poll shows Romney at 28% nationally and McCain at 26%)

Given the importance of Florida, the Rasmussen Reports weekly analysis of the GOP race will be updated on Wednesday this week.

While no one knows who will win Florida at this moment, it is worth noting how much the GOP race has changed since South Carolina. For most of the year, the Republican nomination field was crowded with five candidates in double digits and no one able to gain a lasting advantage. It is now clearly a two-man race.

In fact, it is now distinctly possible that the GOP nomination could be wrapped up before the Democrats select their candidate. While South Carolina clarified things for Republicans, it had the opposite impact on the Democratic race.

As the two-man finals play out, Romney will present himself as the champion of conservatives in general and economic conservatives in particular. McCain will present himself as a “foot soldier” in the Reagan Revolution and a national security conservative. However, many conservatives will paint the Arizona Senator as closer to Hillary Clinton than Ronald Reagan.

Polls in Florida and nationally present potentially good news for both men. The economy is seen as the top voting issue which could help Romney. But, Republican voters say it’s more important to select a President who can handle national security issues. That’s partly because Republicans tend to prefer a government that stays out of the way on economic matters.

Nationally, Romney leads McCain 36% to 21% among conservatives likely to vote in a Republican Primary. McCain leads Romney 41% to 12% among moderate voters. The good news for Romney is that there are more conservatives than moderates.

Rasmussen Reports conducts national telephone surveys on the Presidential race every night and releases updated data from our Presidential Tracking Poll by noon each day.

Those results are based upon a four-day rolling average and provide a quick update on the race.

In addition to the daily tracking poll, Rasmussen Reports provides weekly results to provide a longer-term overview of the race. These updates are based upon nightly telephone surveys. Results are reported based upon interviews conducted on the seven days up to and including the night before posting.

For the seven days ending January 27, 2007, John McCain led the GOP race with 26% support followed by Mitt Romney at 25% and Mike Huckabee at 17%. Rudy Giuliani picked up 12%, Ron Paul’s support for the week is at 5% while 15% are either undecided or supported candidates no longer running (review history of weekly results).

The seven day results typically include interviews with more than 1,200 Likely Republican Primary Voters. This includes both Republicans and those independents likely to vote in a Republicans Primary. In some state primaries, independent voters are allowed to participate in party primaries while in others they are excluded. The margin of sampling error for the weekly update is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence.

Very good news, if accurate. I should have more faith in my fellow republicans they are an intelligent bunch (if they were mindless they would be Democrats) and they will see through McCain as they have seen through Huckabee and Giuliani.

Just keep saying that . . .