MASS CHRISTIAN-RIGHT DEFECTIONS FROM RUDY?
Here's one reason I'm somewhat skeptical about that Rasmussen poll that said 27% of Republican voters would vote for an anti-abortion third-party candidate rather than Giuliani: Rasmussen has been a real poll outlier.
Right now, Rasmussen has Fred Thompson beating Giuliani among Republicans by 2 points. By contrast, here are other recent polls:
* NBC/Wall Street Journal, 9/28-9/30: Giuliani 30%, Thompson 23% (Giuliani +7%)
* ABC/Washington Post, 9/27-9/30: Giuliani 34%, Thompson 17% (Giuliani +17%)
* AP-Ipsos, 9/21-9/25: Giuliani 23%, Thompson 18% (Giuliani +5%)
* Gallup, 9/14-9/16: Giuliani 30%, Thompson 22% (Giuliani +8%)
Rasmussen has also never shown Bush with a monthly average approval rating below 35%, based on its daily tracking poll. Today that tracking poll has Bush's approval at 39%. Bush hasn't been as high as 39% in any other poll tracked by Real Clear Politics since an L.A. Times/Bloomberg poll in mid-January. (The current RCP average of recent polls is 33.8%)
So if Rasmussen is right, every pollster in America is wrong, and we seriously underestimate the wingnuttiness of the country.
ALSO: These feelings can fade fast. A poll taken in January 2005 showed Roy Moore, the "Ten Commandments judge," leading Republican governor Bob Riley in a primary fight; the following year, Riley beat Moore by a 2-to-1 margin.
I'll also add that nobody who wants to remain in the GOP's good graces will run against the Republican nominee; that rules out Mike Huckabee, Sam Brownback, and Duncan Hunter. That might leave Tancredo, or Ron Paul (but Paul wouldn't take just right-wingers' votes) ... or, most likely I think, Alan Keyes. If it's Keyes, I think you're talking low single digits -- still enough to cause Rudy problems, but a far cry from 27% of the GOP.