21 January 2008

Florida or bust for Giuliani?

Has Rudy Giuliani's Florida-only strategy squeezed the juice out of the former New York City mayor's presidential campaign?

A major pollster shows Giuliani well behind John McCain in New York today and that - coupled with the latest numbers from New Jersey, California and at the national level - makes you wonder.

Giuliani made early, half-baked overtures in a couple of the key early states - most notably New Hampshire and South Carolina. But he finished among the bottom wrung in those states.

Giuliani has spent most of the past month campaigning in Florida with the idea that he could make a big splash there and carry it into Tsunami Tuesday, when he would grab control of the Republican race with big wins in his home state of New York, neighboring New Jersey, California - where Gov. Schwarzennegger has his back - and other large, diverse states that are not top-heavy in evangelical voters.

But somewhere along the way that strategy seems to have withered on the vine.

Giuliani once dominated the national polls, as well as New York, New Jersey and California - the three states at the corner of his Tsunami Tuesday strategy.

In Florida, Giuliani seems to be in the thick of a four-man race

But he has not held the lead in a national poll since mid-December. Ditto for California.

Giuliani lost his grip on New Jersey earlier this month.

And today comes compelling evidence that his home state is slipping away as well.

A WNBC/Marist poll shows McCain ahead of Giuliani in New York by a fairly solid 34% to 19%. Mitt Romney is tied for second with Giuliani and Mike Huckabee comes in fourth at 15%.

The poll shows McCain with a substantial 33% to 15% lead over Giuliani in the upstate counties, where most of New York's Republicans reside. Mitt Romney is second upstate at 20%.

McCain and Guiliani are in a virtual tie in New York City as well as in the suburban counties north and northwest of the city.

There's one silver lining for Giuliani in the poll. While only 21% of his supporters say they could change their mind before the Feb. 5 primary, 31% of McCain's backers and 36% of Romney's said their decision could be altered.

Siena College also put out a New York poll that shows a remarkable turnaround in New York. The poll shows McCain leading Giuliani by 12 points after trailing him by 33 points just one month ago.

If things don't pick up - and soon - for Giuliani it just may be that Giuliani's Sunshine State strategy was a real lemon.


Just FYI, on the Democratic side the WNBC/Marist poll shows Hillary Clinton with a 48% to 32% lead over Barack Obama in Clinton's home state. John Edwards is third at 8%.

In the Siena poll, Clinton leads Obama by two-to-one in New York.

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