Republican Nomination Race Gets Murkier With No Clear Frontrunner
Tue Oct 2, 10:48 AM ET
For those covering the story of the Republican Presidential Nomination this week, the focus will be on interpreting the results of the various candidate's fundraising results for the third quarter. For political junkies, that's interesting stuff, but it's unlikely to add clarity to who is ahead or behind at this time.
While weekly poll results) and Mitt Romney leads in Iowa and New Hampshire, there is no true frontrunner among GOP hopefuls. If anything, the race is getting murkier as time goes on.
A week ago, Rasmussen Reports noted that Romney needs to win big in both Iowa and New Hampshire if he is to remain a viable top-tier candidate. Polling data, however, shows that his lead is shrinking in New Hampshire. Since he has a home-court advantage as the former Governor of neighboring Massachusetts, and because he began campaigning in New Hampshire far before anybody else, Romney needs a solid victory just to meet expectations.
On Saturday, it was Giuliani's turn to receive news that could threaten his candidacy. A group of influential Christian conservative leaders threatened to consider backing a third-party candidate if the former New York City Mayor wins the GOP nomination. While such a third-party campaign would likely attract only a small percentage of the vote, that could be enough to doom any GOP hopes of winning the White House in 2008. Earlier in the week, the campaign's chief fund-raiser resigned amidst speculation that third quarter fund raising may not have been up to expectations. These news items are particularly troubling for Giuliani because much of his current success is based upon the perception that he is the most electable Republican candidate.
Before Giuliani's tough week, Thompson took a hit from many conservatives after acknowledging that he doesn't attend Church every Sunday. Thompson has also been under fire from inside-the-beltway conservatives such as George Will. Those challenges are troubling for Thompson because his current success derives from the fact that he's seen as the most conservative Republican candidate.
The continuing challenges faced by each of the leading Republicans may force the chattering class to wait for voters to get engaged before a clear frontrunner emerges. It is even possible, of course, that no clear frontrunner may emerge even after the dust settles following the nearly national primary day of February 5.
For those who like a little more clarity, the narrative in the race for the Democratic Presidential Nomination is much simpler--Hillary Clinton is the clear frontrunner, but her victory is not yet inevitable.
Rasmussen Reports conducts national telephone surveys on the Presidential race every night and releases updated data from our Presidential Tracking Poll by noon each day, Monday through Friday.
Those results are based upon a four-day rolling average and provide a quick update on the race.
In addition to the daily tracking poll, Rasmussen Reports provides weekly results to provide a longer-term overview of the race. These updates are based upon nightly telephone surveys. Results are reported based upon interviews conducted on the seven days up to and including the night before posting.
For the seven days ending September 30, 2007 show that Fred Thompson earns 25% of the vote while Rudy Giuliani attracts 23%. Mitt Romney has moved back into third place, supported by 13%. John McCain is now the favorite for just 10% and Mike Huckabee is at 6%. Four other candidates split 4% of the vote while 19% are undecided (review history of weekly results).
The seven day results typically include interviews with more than 1,000 Likely Republican Primary Voters. This includes both Republicans and those independents likely to vote in a Republicans Primary. In some state primaries, independent voters are allowed to participate in party primaries while in others they are excluded. The margin of sampling error for the weekly update is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence.
Updates prior to July 16 were based upon four days of polling conducted the Monday through Thursday preceding release.
Rasmussen Reports continuously updates general election match-ups and other key stats for all Republican and Democratic Presidential candidates.
Rasmussen Reports is an electronic publishing firm specializing in the collection, publication, and distribution of public opinion polling information.