I have to confess that I was reading old poll numbers when I posted "Rudy McDreamy" on Monday -- Rudy did have a huge lead in the April poll from the L.A. Times and Bloomberg (PDF), but the numbers have shifted in the new poll (PDF).
Here are the current numbers:
Fred Thompson 30%
Don't know 7%
Don't know 20%
Fred Thompson 14%
So what does that all mean? It means:
* Republican women dig Rudy a lot. Republican men dig Rudy and Fred a hell of a lot.
* Republican women are OK with saying they haven't made up their minds. Republican men aren't. (I bet they refuse to ask directions, too.)
I don't agree with righty blogger Don Surber, who looks at the numbers from a follow-up question (in which respondents are asked to choose from A-list candidates only) and concludes that the GOP has trouble with female voters going into the general election -- I think GOP women are just hesitant about picking someone. However, he does note this:
Overall, women prefer the Democratic presidential candidates 51-38, while men prefer Democratics 46-44.
And he says,
Republicans are in trouble. They have to win the women back.
But he's reading a generic question. Once the actual Democratic frontrunner is plugged in, it's not that simple: Hillary Clinton running against Giuliani, McCain, or Romney loses the men by double digits and wins among women by single digits -- thus, she loses all three races. (Obama beats all three and Edwards beats Romney and Giuliani; with Edwards there's a gender gap, though not as pronounced. Alas, there are no numbers for head-to-head matchups with Thompson.)
But Republican women clearly aren't as impressed with Fred Thompson as Republican men. That gives me hope that the Thompson phenomenon is really a guy thing -- and thus he's far more beatable in the general election than (as it seems now) his only real competition for the nomination, Rudy Giuliani.
There really might be something about Thompson that appeals to (certain kinds of) men. I watch the clip from last night's Tonight Show and he seems like Sitcom Dad -- slumped in his chair, lazy-seeming, wearing an ugly tie he almost certainly picked out himself and a suit everyone around him knows doesn't fit him anymore. Add that to his paunch and his rep as a lazy guy and he's Homer Simpson or Jim Belushi -- all he wants is what he wants, and he wants it to come easy. That's such a guy way of looking at the world.