Articles and Analysis


Will Giuliani be the next McCain?

Topics: 2008 , The 2008 Race


Last week I looked at the collapse of the McCain campaign. Not the collapse of money and staff, but the loss of public support that is at the root of the campaign's failure. Judging by the trend we've seen in McCain's support since November that failure has been clearly coming for some time.

But what about the Republican "front runner", Rudy Giuliani? While he has consistently remained ahead in polls of Republican voters, and his campaign is in infinitely better financial shape than McCain's, Giuliani's trend in support is eerily similar to McCain's downward trajectory.

Since early March, Giuliani's support has fallen by an estimated 8 percentage points. McCain's fell by 10 points since January. And the rate of decline has been a bit steeper for Giuliani than for McCain. The saving grace for Giuliani has been that he started his decline from a higher point, around 33%, while McCain's slump started down from 25%.

Giuliani's national slide is also mirrored in the early primary states, as is the case with McCain.


If Giuliani's decline is a little less dramatic in the states than has been McCain's, his situation is still grave in comparison to the rising candidacies of Romney (in IA and NH) and Fred Thompson (nationally and in FL and SC).

Were it not for the fundraising success of the Giuliani campaign, and its cash on hand ($15M), the analysis of his situation would be far more pessimistic than recent accounts have made it sound. In part the recent intense focus on McCain may have distracted analysts from the similar trends for Giuliani, but the attention should now shift from McCain being forced to take public transportation between campaign events to the prospects of the other candidate the press has labeled the Republican "front runner".

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.

But to make his campaign surge, Giuliani has to face the rise of Fred Thompson, whose trend estimate is now up to 20.1% nationally and with a very steady upward trend since May.


Thompson is also trending up in Florida and South Carolina, while Giuliani slumps in those states. And his prospects against Romney in Iowa and New Hampshire are looking poor as well. So while the national trend may be stabilizing, the Giuliani campaign is confronted with serious challenges in at least four of the first five states.

Let's check back in on this around Labor Day and see if the trend lines above have crossed. If they have, the second Republican "front runner" will have stumbled.

Cross-posted at Political Arithmetik.


The answer is: Giuliani already is McCain:

Your question is answered in the graphs, although the media has hyped the fact that McCain is broke; Giuliani is a sacred cow to the media, and his precipitous fall is being ignored, due to his undeserved 9-11 aura.



Another claim from the media I disagree with is that McCain has fallend due to his war stance. Memo to the media: Republicans love war, and warmongers. That analysis makes no sense. Or you think Giuliani is some sort of Jane Fonda? He's supported the Iraq war from beginning to end. Same with Romney.


low-tech cyclist:

I don't believe in predicting the future with graphs, unless your prediction involves a deep understanding of why the lines on the graph are doing what they're doing.

Since I don't see much of that here, this doesn't move me one way or the other.

I'm certainly hoping Rudy goes down the tubes - I don't believe Mitt or Fred can win in November 2008, no matter what happens between now and then - but as James Thurber once said, "don't count your boobies before they're hatched."


Chris G:

At least qualitatively, the influence of F. Thompson and Romney on Giuliani and McCain trends looks pretty clear. In FL and SC, Thompson's entrance into the race coincides with fairly sharp changes in Giuliani and McCain trends. In NH and IA, both that and Romney's ascendancy coincide with their declines.

I'd be curious to see undecided % on these plots as well, it could be revealing. For example, has the undecided trend also dropped in tandem with Thompson and Romney, and if so, by how much over time? Any finding here could suggest how much Thompson and Romney are engaging Republicans who were previously sitting on the fence versus those who are engaged and will have some kind of opinion no matter who's in the race.



I believe the video released last week by the International Association of Fire Fighters is going to have a devastating impact on rapid decline of popularity for Giuliani. If you have not watched it, you owe it to yourself to see some very ugly sides of Rudy:



Rudy is already fallen in NH, and Ron Paul is on the rise. They don't ask his name when they call but 'other' gets 30%

He's got more money than McCain now, so he's in third place for that, and his support is great here, winning straw polls and getting thousands of people out to see him.



Rudy is already fallen in NH, and Ron Paul is on the rise. They don't ask his name when they call but 'other' gets 30%

He's got more money than McCain now, so he's in third place for that, and his support is great here, winning straw polls and getting thousands of people out to see him.


Retired Businessman:

Morerice suggested we view the firefighters anti-Rudy website. Well I did and all I saw was Union and all of them democrats!

What else do you expect? I would worry if union democrats came out supporting him!

GOP and Demo candidates will come and go during the shake down period. Who ever is chosen at their conventions will be the ones in the race. An Example was when Jimmy Carter was chosen over (I think) better candidates!



Rudy is in the best position of any of the candidates. Who will deny that? Hopefully we (Republicans) don't shoot ourselves in the foot by knocking out the Republican with the best shot at defeating a Dem in '08. You guys can fight for McCain or Romney or Thompson...I like Romney the best...but none of them can defeat any Democrat after the last four years of GOP leadership. It won't even be close. You will be dooming us to Hillary. Why not support Rudy who is strong on defense, strong fiscally, strong leadership wise, strong with regard to the judiciary, etc...look past single issues such as abortion that he really won't have any control over anyway...especially since he will nominate strict constructionist judges.


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