Gallup has an interesting poll of Republicans regarding potential 2008 candidates. At the top of the list is Rudy Giuliani with 78% approval. John McCain has a rather large disapproval among Republicans, with 4 in 10 saying that they would not vote for him.
I think that Rudy’s liabilities haven’t really come out, but this does make clear that the Giuliani groundswell that’s appeared among Republicans is real. Despite Rudy’s prior positions on key issues, if Giuliani starts showing his conservative credentials on the issues, he has a good chance of winning the GOP nomination. Giuliani has excellent policy chops, is incredibly engaging on the stump, and can credibly reach out to independents and even Democrats. His biggest challenge will be getting the nomination, but the influence of the religious right on Republican politics is consistantly overrated. John McCain has done far more to alienate the Republican Party because of his unconstitutional stance on political speech than any of Giuliani’s personal foibles.
I still think Rudy will run, and I still think he’ll win. There is no Democrat who would have a chance of beating him, and when it comes right down to it, politics is all about winning. Unless Giuliani does something incredibly stupid, there’s no reason why he can’t make a strong enough appeal to Republican voters to win. All he has to do is state that he will keep the nation strong, keep taxes low, secure the borders, and nominate judges who will follow the Constitution and he will have no problem with the Republican base.
Granted, everything can and will change before the 2008 campaign season rolls around, but if I were handicapping this race right now, I’d give Rudy the front-runner status.