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Giuliani Campaign's Analysis of Recent Trends

Topics: 2008 , The 2008 Race

Brent Seaborn, Director of Strategy for the Giuliani campaign, offers the following response to Charles Franklin's recent post on the trend in support for Giuliani.

By Brent Seaborn
Director of Strategy
Rudy Giuliani Presidential Committee

Despite assertions to the contrary on this site, the Giuliani campaign is in a very strong position at this point and is clearly best-positioned to win the primary. Let me point out a few differences between the McCain and Giuliani trend line:

  • When Mayor Giuliani first announced his candidacy for president, he received a considerable bounce in the polls. We anticipated that the race would close after our initial bounce -- in memos written on March 22 and June 22. I wrote, at the time, we should expect polls to tighten, as they have.
  • As the race developed early in the spring, the race quickly but briefly, developed in to a two-way race, and our initial bounce extended into the beginning of this two-way race. The two-way race divided most of the Republican primary vote between 2 major candidates -- the nature of a two-way race generally forces undecided or leaning voters to make a choice between the leading candidates and many broke our way.
  • As McCain's trend line declined Mitt Romney's slowly rose and Fred Thompson entered the race. Senator McCain is still a candidate for President and continues to receive a substantial vote share.
  • Fred Thompson now seems to be the beneficiary of an announcement (or pre-announcement) bounce. And Fred Thompson's entry to the campaign has effectively made this now a four-way race.
  • After months as the frontrunner and the addition of a fourth candidate to the GOP primary it is notable that we are in roughly the same spot we were in before our bounce and when this was still a three-way race. In a four-way (or as your graph suggests a five-way race), a trend line from the first of the year until now, excluding our "announcement" bounce, is virtually flat.
  • I also note this paragraph:

    "Are there any bright spots for Giuliani, other than money? Yes. There is a hint in the data that his decline may have slowed and support stabilized in the last month. In the first plot above, the blue line is my standard trend estimator which is rarely mislead by "blips" in the polls, but which is also a bit slow to be convinced that a change of trend has occurred. The red line in the plots is my more sensitive estimator-- quicker to notice a change, but also more easily fooled by "changes" that turn out to be phantoms. The red estimator has flattened out recently for Giuliani, and currently sees relative stability at about 26%. The blue estimator instead sees continued decline and a current level just under 25%. If the red estimator is right (and it often isn't) then perhaps the worst days of declining support are now behind Giuliani, at least nationally. If so, his campaign can try to get the trend moving up instead of down, but at least the decline has stopped. Unlike McCain, Giuliani has the money to try to make the numbers turn up."

    I believe this is more than a blip. The red trend line will begin to pull the blue line up to meet it. In fact, if one looks at major media polls over the last month most of them show Rudy Giuliani receiving 30% or more of the GOP primary vote. In fact the mean of the major media polls over the last month is 29%.

    Newsweek 6/20-6/21: RWG 27%
    CNN 6/22-6/24: RWG 30%
    FOX 6/26-6/27: RWG 29%
    CBS 6/26-6/28: RWG 34%
    USA Today/Gallup 7/6-7/8: RWG 30%
    AP 7/9-7/11: RWG 21%
    Gallup 7/12-7/15: RWG 33%
    FOX 7/17-6/18: RWG 27%

    Major media polls actually show Rudy Giuliani ahead of even the red tend line. And I would add that the red trend line, at this point in the race, disproportionately accounts for the Rasmussen Polls that by their regularity are a drag on Mayor Giuliani's trend line.
  • Overall, we are very pleased with our performance in national polls. We are aware we will continue to face challenges and the race will likely continue to close. But we believe we have a real and solid base of support and we will remain competitive as this race evolves.

 

Comments
Andrew:

Hello Mr. Seaborn. Here's my opinion.
Your conflict of interest makes you less likely than an independent analyst to be honest regarding the strength of Giuliani's campaign as we speak. You work for Rudy. But even people with conflict of interest can be right, at times, so let's analyze the situation.
This week, three national polls found Fred Thompson catching up with the ex-mayor, in fact leading Giuliani by 1%, for the first time ever. Yes, in other polls such as Gallup, Giuliani still Thompson comfortably, but overall Thompson should be very happy.

You refer to Thompson's pre-announcement bounce, but that's becoming old news. He formed his exploratory committee on June 1st.

Giuliani was a lock for the GOP nomination a couple of months ago. Now he's not.

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Dennis:

Andrew,

Your anti-Rudy, pro Thompson bias is showing.
The Guiliani campaign has predicted that the race would not only tighten, but that Rudy may trail at some point in time.

As for Thompson, once he shows the guts to get in the race, his magical aura and boomlet will quickly dissipate.

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Daniel:

Dear All,

For what I see, since the beginning of Rudy's campaign the signal is very clear : Rudy is ahead... and the situation becomes more clear if you look at the State by State polls. With "just" NY,CA,PA,FL,TX Rudy could be very close to get the nomination.
As concers Thompson, since he is not officially IN, I guess he is taking advantage by some kind of uncertainty perceived by all the polls; it seems that people would like to have "more choices" in the actual group of competitors. Thus I basically agree with Doctor Seaborn, when Thompson is gonna announce officially is candidature we will see whether he is able to compete with Rudy or he is just being overestimated by those "uncertainties".

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Justin:

Fred Thompson is riding a wave of positive press to the top tier of the Republican race. While Senator Thompson is a likeable fellow and a conservative, I have yet to see a compelling reason for his candidacy.

His paucity of accomplishments during his 8 years in the Senate should give all Republicans pause. Senator Thompson not only lacks the executive experience that Mayor Giuliani obtained in running one of the largest government in the nation, but he doesn't have a track record of exactly initiating conservative legislation.

The 2008 election presents one of the great challenges in modern times. In today's political environment, where independents are inclined to vote Democratic, we need to nominate a candidate with a resume of accomplishment.

Senator Thompson's record, unfortunately, pales in comparison to Mayor Giuliani.

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nycmale:

After Thompson's initial bounce a month ago, he's pretty much plateaued. Giuliani's numbers seemed to have steadied as well. Now that immigration reform is out of the headlines, I expect McCain to climb back up and likely catch (or even pass) Thompson. Finally, I think that Romney's lead in Iowa and NH is about to vanish. He's been the only one advertising there, running thousands of TV ads. None of the others have had one TV ad. Once this race gets serious, I expect the state numbers to more closely mirror the national numbers. Also, look at SC--Rudy still leads there, even with Thompson in the race. If Thompson can't win SC, he's done. By the end of the year, this will be a three-way race between Giuliani, McCain and Thompson, with Romney pulling up the rear, hoping for an opening. If Romney can't win Iowa or NH (and I doubt he will), he'll be done.

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Anonymous:

Just another thought... Thompson may still prove to be formidable; however, keep in mind that most Republicans know who Giuliani and McCain are, and what they like (or don't like about both); and from the numbers, it seems that Giuliani has a solid base of 25%+ and McCain about 15-20%+... that will stick with them throughout. So far, even as a "dream candidate", Thompson is stuck around 20% (which, like I said, is formidable); but what remains to be seen is where his bottom is, how deep is his base. It seems likely that it will be, at least a little, below 20%. Of course, with the right campaign, he can build on that. Finally, I think for Thompson to prevail, he'll have to take down, either, Giuliani or McCain; and I think both of them are stronger than most people think (yes, even McCain). Like I said in another post, I expect this to become a 3-way race between Giuliani, Thompson & McCain, with Romney hoping for an opening. I think Romney's real opening isn't until 2012, if the Republicans lose in 08.

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Sanchez Ronahona:

Giuliani's been scrutinized up the wazoo and has emerged unscathed, bathed in teflon. Let's see if Thompson can do the same. I think not.

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Lorrie:

I have seen this trend continuing - Rudy is becomming more and more stable - and there have been many rogue polls out there showing some pretty varying results anyway.

Ultimately without question Rudy is in a strong position - both in the polls and financially whereas McCain is in decline - hopefully much of his support will rally behind Rudy.

This insane Thompson hysteria will dissapear as soon as he open his mouth in the first debate when he musters up the courage to attend.

I can safely predict his first words will be 'I ur, um, ur' and yet somehow we're led to believe by a minority that he's the next reagan. Yeah right.

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Charles Huckenberry:

Thompson has not even been in a debate yet and he is purposely not reporting his caimpaign contribution information. There are also many tough questions Thompson will have to answer for about his lobbyist record. Many that a lot of social conservatives in the "Bible Belt" are not aware of yet. Although Thompson will be a candidate to be reckoned with, we should not get over concerned just yet.

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Mike:

There are only two legitimate candidates in the GOP race. First, the non-contenders...McCain is a good man, but his time was 2000, the polls and his fundraising expose this. Romney has done an excellent job of turning his unknown name into a known name, but his poll numbers aren't budging and sadly his religion will prevent him from going further.
That leaves a mediocre actor with little real political experience and the hero of 911. Unlike Thompson, Rudy makes people emotional. In Georgia, most people, including Democrats say that they like Rudy and he is a real hero. Couple that with his tough resume, charisma and ability to win blue states, and I think it could and should be a landslide...in the primary and in the general elections.

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Carter LeBlanc:

ALCON,

Fred Thompson is a good man with good conservative values, but Rudy is the only RNC candidate who has a proven record of getting Government to work and reducing the size of it. Good luck Rudy. I am behind you all the way.

Carter LeBlanc

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Charles B. Hall:

Justin, you are correct about Thompson's mediocre Senate career. But Republicans are quite happy with mediocrity -- eight years ago they nominated a candidate with a record of running unsuccessful busnesses, and little accomplishment as governor of Texas.

America deserves better, and it is sad that the one Republican with significant governmental experience and accomplishment -- McCain -- is close to having to drop out of the race, and the most experienced Democratic candidates -- Biden, Dodd, and Richardson -- barely register a blip in the polls.

Carter, you are correct that Rudy Giuliani did make much of government work better in New York. Public safety in particular dramatically improved under his watch. But education and transportation did not. And he did not shrink government -- in fact he left his successor with a multibillion dollar budget shortfall that required a huge property tax increase to fix.

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MARC:

Here's a reality to ponder, all you Thompson supporters; if he wins the nomination, get used to the phrase "President Clinton" all over again. There's an abysmal chance at best for him to beat her. His appeal is strong only amongst staunch conservatives. Rudy can appeal to moderates and put certain "blue" states at risk for Hillary, and in most polls he beats her. By the way, what has Thompson ever done ??? I think Obama's resume is longer...

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MARC:

If you don't believe me, google this up;
Nixon met Thompson when he was a young attorney working his way up in Washington politics and said he was one of the "dumbest" people he's ever met, that it was difficult to get Thompson to catch on to certain discussions. Love or hate Nixon, he was undeniable highly intelligent and more than capable of sniffing out dimwits and empty suits...

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Larry:

The real polls are the primaries - all more than half a year away. I hope that by then a majority of the voters will understand that Rudy is the only candidate in either party with an unquestioned record of leadership successes. Every candidate has "pimples," but they should influence the voter negatively only if they interfere with his vision, hearing, or other senses. Again, Rudy's pimples are the fewest and most benign of any candidate in either party.
Vote for Rudy for the Republican nomination. Then vote for Rudy for President of this great nation.

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nimh:

Was this post linked in on some pro-Giuliani site?

This site's posts - however valuable - usually do not get all that much in the way of response. Now suddenly there is this series of posts, which sound distinctly more like the kind of comments you might hear in a post-debate or post-election "spin alley" than like independent observations.

Mind you, I certainly dont begrudge pollster.com the attention. The fact that the Giuliani campaign thought it necessary to rebut the Pollster analyses in such detail, and showed itself to be well acquainted with pollster.com's red and blue graph lines, underlines just how influential a site this has become. Congratulations to Charles Franklin, Mystery Pollster, et al.

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