Thursday, March 22, 2007

(with an update on the Giulianis' multiple marriages -- one more than we thought! -- and Rudy as a gun flip-flopper)

I was just poking around and I came across some of the demographic detainls of an AP/Ipsos poll conducted earlier this month. That poll, like most recent polls, shows Giuliani way out in front among Republicans (35% to 22% over McCain); the demographic breakdown suggests that one reason might be the huge gender skew:

Giuliani got stronger support from Republican women (41 percent) than he did from Republican men (25 percent).

I really can't figure that out. Can you? Any theories?


UPDATE: A lot of interesting ideas in comments. Rudy as the macho rich guy in high school who's considered a dreamboat even though he may be kind of a thug on a date? Rudy as the embodiment of a sort of Munchausen's by proxy syndrome, for "people who relish the idea of the 9/11 attacks because it whipped up the Patriotic fervor"? Republican women as busy soccer moms who haven't really absorbed a lot of what there is to know about the candidates? I just don't know.

Todcay's papers have a couple of stories that may or may not relate to this. The fun story is about his marriage: It turns out that -- whoops! -- Judi Nathan, Rudy's currrent wife (#3), never quite got around to telling any of the reporters who've covered the couple since they got together that she has two previous marriages, not one. The story's in the New York Post and Daily News. Her first marriage took place when she was 20, in a Vegas wedding chapel.

(The Post, talking over our heads to social conservatives, takes care to add that "Aides said yesterday that her first marriage was over by the time she began a relationship with" her second husband. The Post also tries to transmit the Giuliani campaign's preferred message to female voters by noting that Judi "called her current husband 'a beauty' repeatedly throughout the interview, saying each spouse complements the other.")

I've never thought the Giuliani marital record was going to hurt him with GOP voters, and I still don't. He's a Republican, so he just has to avoid infidelity right now (cf. Reagan, Newt Gingrich, Henry Hyde). Who's going to be disillusioned by this? Country music fans -- people who like the song "All My Ex's Live In Texas"?


A story that could hurt him somewhat more with GOP voters is this one from today's New York Times -- it compares his record as a gun-control advocate when he was mayor (for instance, he lobbied for the Brady Law and attended Bill Clinton's signing ceremony) to his current flip-flopped stance (he now seems to oppose the assault weapons ban and advocate state rather than national gun laws).

Remember Giuliani's reaction in 1997 after a Palestinian man on a tourist visa went on a shooting rampage at the Empire State Building with a semi-automatic weapon he'd bought in Florida:

"It should be as difficult to get a gun in Florida as it is in New York City," he said, "And if that was the case, then maybe Miami and Fort Lauderdale and about six other cities in Florida would be as safe as New York City."

According to the story in today's Times, that was just a helpful suggestion, not a demand for new laws.


Maybe Republican voters (female and/or male) don't know a lot of this yet. Or maybe they do know and Republican women don't really mind because they don't really care quite as much about the standard-issue hardcore GOP line-in-the-sand positions. On marriage, maybe GOP women don't believe absolute purity is a prerequisite (men may deceive themselves about their own high moral standards, and thus demand them of others). And on guns, maybe GOP women don't think NRA-style absolutism is the only acceptable approach.

I sometimes think right-wingers, especially right-wing men, take these absolutist stands out of excessive fear of The Other -- criminals, promiscuous youth, promiscuous poor people, gays, illegal immigrants, non-whites in general.... All these scare right-wing men perhaps more than right-wing women. Maybe Republican women are (slightly) saner about all this -- maybe they're less likely to deceive themselves into thinking that bad (or somewhat bad) behavior is something only they do.


One last thing about the marriage story. The Post tells us this:

The interview was conducted in the offices of Changing Our World, the charity consulting firm where Judith Giuliani works. The campaign would not allow a Post photographer to take pictures of her.

Good grief -- it would be a huge story for a week if Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama's wife refused to allow photos during an interview. Ah, but it's OK if you're a Republican.

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