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Running the Republican Numbers on Rudy

Trying to read too much into any 2008 poll at this point, especially with respect to horserace numbers, is somewhat silly and a waste of time. But the new FOX News poll does have some interesting tidbits in the internals asking about voters' general impressions on issues. Again, I don't want to make too much of the numbers, only to point them out as more grist for the mill.

Here are the numbers that have some relevance to Mitt Romney:

Are you more who are more or less likely to support a candidate who is a Mormon?
Republicans only:
More likely 8% (a lot more likely 4%, somewhat more likely 4%)
Less likely 30% (a lot less likely 19%, somewhat less likely 11%)
Not a major factor 59%

Are you more who are more or less likely to support a candidate who has changed his or her position on the issue of abortion?
Republicans only:
More likely 16% (a lot more likely 6%, somewhat more likely 10%)
Less likely 28% (a lot less likely 16%, somewhat less likely 12%)
Not a major factor 39%

And here are the numbers with some relevance to Rudy Giuliani:

Are you more who are more or less likely to support a candidate who is pro-choice on the issue of abortion?
Republicans only:
More likely 22% (a lot more likely 12%, somewhat more likely 10%)
Less likely 46% (a lot less likely 36%, somewhat less likely 10%)
Not a major factor 30%

Are you more who are more or less likely to support a candidate who supports civil unions
for gays and lesbians?

Republicans only:
More likely 8% (a lot more likely 5%, somewhat more likely 3%)
Less likely 50% (a lot less likely 39%, somewhat less likely 11%)
Not a major factor 38%

Obviously, as a general proposition, the numbers show that between the two, Rudy has the more significant obstacles to overcome. But we already knew that.

Nevertheless, Rudy beats John McCain handily in a head to head match up, 56 to 31. Twenty-four percent of Republicans say they would "definitely vote for" Rudy, 56% say they "might vote for" him, and 17% say they would "under no circumstances" vote for Giuliani. McCain's numbers are slightly worse: 13% "definitely vote for," 54% "might vote for," and 25% "under no circumstances" vote for.

The biggest red flag for Rudy has to be that only 42% of Republicans surveyed correctly identified him as pro-choice. Twenty-one percent of Republican voters have it wrong and think Rudy is pro-life, and another 36% of Republicans don't have a clue what his position on abortion. In other words, nearly six out of ten registered Republican voters have yet to learn something about Rudy which, we can infer from the first question on abortion, will make close to half of them either "somewhat" less likely or "a lot" less likely to vote for him. There's no doubt the same holds true of his position on civil unions for gays, and the Second Amendment as well.

In time we'll see if Rudy has the skill and the charisma to defuse these differences with the Republican base and also whether conservative Republicans are willing to cut Giuliani any slack on social issues out of deference to his superior leadership skills and his commitment to fighting the war against Islamic jihadists, which is the overriding issue for most Republican voters.