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Have Boffo Poll Numbers Persuaded Giuliani to Run?

Despite speculation about Rudy Giuliani’s reluctance to run for President, and skepticism that he’s a viable candidate, it looks as though he’s about ready to officially declare himself a candidate. This comes as little surprise to anyone who received the following “Team Rudy” e-mail from Brent Seaborn, a former Bush operative now putting together the Giuliani campaign team. Are Giuliani’s numbers — both his approval rating and his vote share against McCain — so boffo that he won’t be able to resist running? I’d think that anyone with such numbers would want to run for President.

It will be interesting, however, to see how his approval ratings among white evangelical Christians (76%) and conservative Republicans (82%) change once he hits the big stage and everyone realizes that, as New York City’s mayor, he was pro-choice and pro-gun control (and is on his third marriage). It’s also interesting to see how Giuliani is consistently referred to in the campaign e-mail as “Mayor” Giuliani. Although it would be highly unusual for a U.S. President to be elected without having held a rank higher than mayor, it does get around that fact that sitting Senators, e.g., have a terrible time in modern Presidential elections since their voting records can be used so vigorously against them. Nor, given the outcomes of the 2006 midterm elections, does incumbency of any sort seem to make anyone bulletproof. Along those lines, it’s also worth noting that by the time the GOP primaries start, Giuliani will have been out of office for more than six years. Which, oddly enough, may turn out to have been his six most valuable years in politics.

To: Team Rudy
From: Brent Seaborn, Strategy Director
Date: February 2, 2007
Re: Rudy and the Republican Nomination

Over the last month or two there has been a good deal of public opinion polling on the 2008 Republican primary race. I thought it would be helpful to take a step back and take a closer look at how voters – particularly Republican primary voters – feel about Rudy Giuliani and why we think we are well-positioned heading in to the primary season.

Americans Have a Highly Favorable Opinion of Mayor Giuliani
Entering the 2008 primary season, Rudy Giuliani is uniquely positioned among potential Republican candidates because of his extremely high favorability ratings. Recent public opinion polling shows Mayor Giuliani with 61% approval among adults across the country – according to the ABC News/Washington Post poll (Jan. 16-19, 2007). The well respected, bipartisan Battleground Poll (Jan 8-11, 2007) shows the Mayor with 65% favorability among likely voters. More importantly, Mayor Giuliani shows an 81% favorable rating among Republicans and only 10% with an unfavorable opinion.

According to the Battleground poll, Mayor Giuliani also has surprisingly high favorability ratings beyond the base:

The Mayor also enjoys strong approval among white evangelical Christians (76%) and self-described conservative Republicans (82%). In an even more recent poll, Gallup (Jan. 25-28, 2007) finds Mayor Giuliani also leads among Republicans on 7 of 10 key issues including terrorism, the economy, healthcare and fighting crime. He also leads on 11 of 15 key candidate attributes – including “better understands the problems faced by ordinary Americans”, “would manage government more effectively” and what I believe to be the single most important factor – “is the stronger leader.”

In sum, while we fully expect these polls to tighten in the months and weeks to come, Republican voters genuinely know and like Rudy Giuliani.

The Mayor Performs Well in Opinion Polls
The Mayor’s exceptionally strong approval ratings also translate in to an advantage on Republican primary ballot tests. In 11 of 13 ballot tests in respected national public opinion polls [Fox News, Newsweek, Time Gallup, CNN, NBC/Wall Street Journal, ABC/Washington Post] since last November, Mayor Giuliani has a lead – in fact, his lead is on average, more than 5-points over the next closest candidate. And his ballot strength began to trend upward after the 2006 midterm elections.

Mayor Giuliani Leads in Key 2008 Primary States
Mayor Giuliani also leads in a series of other states that will likely prove critical in the 2008 Republican primary:


Mayor Giuliani

Closest Competitor


California 33% 19% (Gingrich) ARG – Jan. 11-17
Florida 30% 16% (Gingrich) ARG – Jan. 4-9
Illinois 33% 24% (McCain) ARG – Jan. 11-14
Michigan 34% 24% (McCain) ARG – Jan. 4-7
Nevada 31% 25% (McCain) ARG – Dec. 19-23, ’06
New Jersey 39% 21% (McCain) Quinnipiac – Jan. 16-22
North Carolina 34% 26% (McCain) ARG – Jan. 11-15
Ohio 30% 22% (McCain) Quinnipiac – Jan. 23-28
Pennsylvania 35% 25% (McCain) ARG Jan. 4-8
Texas 28% 26% (McCain) Baselice Jan. 17-21

Recent polling continues to suggest Mayor Giuliani is very well positioned within the party – particularly when compared to other potential Republican candidates – to win the nomination.

Mayor Giuliani’s favorable public opinion stems not only from his extraordinary leadership in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks and in the uncertainty that followed, but also from a remarkably strong record of accomplishments in fighting crime and turning around New York City’s economy in the 1990’s.

Americans are anxious for fresh Republican leadership on a range of issues. Our voters are drawn to the leadership strength of a candidate during an election. Therefore, as we move forward with exploring a run for President and as we continue to share the Mayor’s story of strong leadership and Reagan-like optimism and vision, we hope to see continued growth in our foundation of support.