RUDY CAMPAIGN CRATERS; I OWE STEVE BENEN AN APOLOGY
I expressed skepticism about his theory, expressed more than once at the Carpetbagger Report: that "the more people see of Giuliani, the less they like him." Apparently that's exactly right:
Giuliani Sinks to Fourth in Florida
A new Datamar poll in Florida finds Mike Huckabee leading the Republican presidential primary race with 24% support, followed by Mitt Romney at 20%, Sen. John McCain at 18% and Rudy Giuliani now back in fourth place at 16%.
Two months ago, Giuliani led the GOP race....
I'll say. Check out the purple line on the graph here -- that was Giuliani. He absolutely dominated the race in Florida as late as November. No more, apparently -- and that's after he announced a strategy of concentrating on Florida.
Oh, but about that strategy:
Though former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani has generally attributed his poor showing in New Hampshire to a campaign strategy that focuses on larger, delegate-rich states holding later contests, statistics compiled by ABC News indicate that he was clearly competing to win in the Granite State as hard -- if not harder -- than many of his rivals.
Statistics compiled by ABC News Political Unit and ABC News' team of off-air reporters indicate that Giuliani held more events in this first-in-the-nation primary state than any other Republican except for former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney in neighboring Massachusetts. He also spent more on TV ads than anyone except for Romney and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.
... Giuliani's effort here has been Herculean. Romney held 176 events in New Hampshire through Tuesday, primary day, while Giuliani held 126. That's considerably more than McCain, who held 104, and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who held 93.
...It turns out that Giuliani was plenty committed. It was the voters of New Hampshire who had issues.
There are other explanations. I think McCain (for non-evangelicals) and Huckabee (for evangelicals) have become what Giuliani seemed to be to some voters -- now that the war over the immigration bill is forgotten, voters reconsidering McCain are probably feeling that he does the cheerleading for the get-tough-on-Islamofascists position better than Rudy, while, for fundies, Huckabee is the secular saint Rudy seemed to be when voters envisioned him walking away from Ground Zero covered in dust.
Whatever's going on, Rudy should drop out now -- or at least stay home (maybe his numbers will get better that way). He won't, though.