Republican presidential hopeful Rudolph Giuliani, virtually tied with John McCain in a January poll, held a 25-point lead over the Arizona senator in a Newsweek magazine survey released on Saturday.
Among registered Republicans, 59 percent said they backed the former New York City mayor and 34 percent said they favored McCain, who announced on Wednesday he would seek the presidency in 2008, Newsweek said.
This is certainly not totally unexpected. But yet in some ways, I think it is. I wouldn't have guessed in a million years that Rudy would surge this quick. I actually thought it would have been tighter maybe right up to Iowa, mainly because McCain is the consensus "machine" candidate. Which means he supposed to have the kingmakers-of-the-party endorsments and access to all of the purse strings, early on. It was then, I expected to Rudy to surge, not now.
What is apparent to the political eye, are a number of points to consider. Here are just a few:
One thing is evident, the GOP voters that are being polled now are not going to fall behind the party "machine". They did that with Bush in 2000 and looking back, they may be disappointed in doing so.
The primary season is not far off, but too far to crown anyone the winner, just yet. Iowa is the biggest part of a year away. Traditionally, that is when and where the money starts to flow. But with Giuliani being so far ahead so soon, I would not be the least bit surprised if the money starts working its way to Rudy much sooner. And if this happens, it will put McCain at a sizable disadvantage early.
Why this is, is anyone's true guess. But there are some things that I believe to be true. One thing is, McCain has never been trusted by the GOP. I think the only reason McCain did as well as he did in 2000 ,was because the was the anti-Bush. At least he was the only one that had a snowball's chance in hell, in stopping the "machine".
In the grander scheme of things, I think the party is moving more toward the center. It's subtle, but sure. Center politics is where it's at and they are beginning to act like they know it. In fact, if Rudy is nominated, I would be willing to say that the GOP is less controlled by the hard right, than the Dems are currently with the hard left. The influence of the religious right will be greatly diminished, which is something the Dems would have hoped to exploit in their strategic plans.
But regardless of how we analyze it, this poll only gives a bigger lift than expected to the former mayor of New York City and solidifies him as an actual contender. That much we can say with certainty, but that's about all we can say with any level of confidence, right now. One thing it does not tell us is? The name of the eventual winner.