A Rasmussen poll shows two things:
(1) Republican former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani is undergoing his own “surge” …upwards, at the expense of Arizona Senator John McCain…and he could beat Hillary Clinton in a hypothetical matchup.
(2) Senator Hillary Clinton does not seem to be winning over many new voters. Are their minds totally made up on her? If so, some conventional talking-head wisdom about her near-certainty as the Democratic Party’s 2008 nominee could prove as accurate as all the old stories about an upcoming President Gary Hart or the “botched” punditry on President John Kerry.
In a match-up between the early 2008 frontrunners, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani (R) leads New York Senator Hillary Clinton (D) 52% to 43%. The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds Giulianiâ€™s lead growing in recent months. His current nine-point advantage is up from a six point lead in January and a four-point lead in December.
Giuliani has solidified his title as the most popular candidate of Election 2008â€”his favorability ratings have inched back up to 70%.
This means that we should soon see a spate of news reports originating by either Democratic or Republican operatives attempting to drive down his negatives real fast. MORE:
Clinton is viewed favorably by 50% and unfavorably by 48%. The last four times that Rasmussen Reports has polled on a Giuliani-Clinton race, Clintonâ€™s support has remained unchanged at 43%.
While both candidates draw reasonable levels of support from within their own party, Giuliani has an enormous 64% to 27% advantage over Clinton among unaffiliated voters.
This isn’t fatal for Clinton right now. But if it turns out that she continues to build little in coming polls and Giuliani continues to rise, she could be in big trouble.
However, Giuliani’s ascent may not be steady: right now he’s doing relatively-controlled political events and is not enmeshed in the brutal rough and tumble world of party primaries and no-holds-barred media interviews. Right now, though, there are signs that Ms. Clinton will have to start showing that she can expand her coalition of support, rather than just hold onto it…or the new media narrative will be the fizzling of Clinton inevitability and more stories about Barack Obama’s seeming ascent.
Joe Gandelman is a former fulltime journalist who freelanced in India, Spain, Bangladesh and Cypress writing for publications such as the Christian Science Monitor and Newsweek. He also did radio reports from Madrid for NPR’s All Things Considered. He has worked on two U.S. newspapers and quit the news biz in 1990 to go into entertainment. He also has written for The Week and several online publications, did a column for Cagle Cartoons Syndicate and has appeared on CNN.