All sorts of interesting polling data here, a Quinnipiac poll of Pennsylvania voters. The takeaway points are:
1) Rudy still has a sizable lead, although Thompson does eat a little into his support. A staggering majority of voters admit they need to learn more about Thompson, so his potential influence is still unknown.
2) Giuliani is still the only potential GOP candidate reliably polling ahead of potential democrat opponents.
3) Clinton is consolidating support in the democrat field, as acknowledged in the summary. Look closely, though: Conventional wisdom is the Philadelphia suburbs are key in our elections. Urban voters and upstate voters are pretty predictable. The Philadelphia suburbs have a large concentration of potential swing voters, though. Rudy still beats Hillary here. Interestingly, though, Obama beats Rudy here. This is despite the fact the statewide trend is the reverse, in that overall Clinton shows better against Giuliani than Obama. I believe the trend in the Philadelphia suburbs is the one that will prevail in the state overall.
Finally, Quinnipiac’s summary says Pennsylvania voters appear uninterested in moving up our Commonwealth’s primary. This is an odd analysis on their part, as the poll shows 42 to 28 preference for moving the primary up, with 36% of voters saying they would be more likely to vote in a primary if it were moved up. How can this be interpreted as “Voters show little interest in moving up primary”?
over 77% of registered voters say they have voted in the primary despite its irrelevancy. If most of them don’t say they are “more likely” to vote in a primary because they are already pretty certain they’ll vote in it anyway, how many additional people have to become more likely to participate in order to show support according to Quinnipiac’s analysis?
Besides, this begs the question. I don’t care if less people than can fit in my powder room vote in our relic of a primary. I still want the primary to actually matter!
The other news from the piece linked here, at least it was news to me, is that Charlie Roberts has officially endorsed Rudy Giuliani. He is a committeeman and activist from Bethlehem Township, and this certainly bodes well for the campaign. It seems Giuliani has been racking up support in PA from party leadership elements that one, perhaps, would have expected to go to more insider candidates. Especially McCain.
McCain may feel like this is still “spring training” , as he was saying a month ago and reiterated on a blogger conference call yesterday, but this cycle has started. And the Phillies know all about how a crappy April can sink you for the rest of the season. [see, politics and baseball again]
I don’t know much about committeeman Roberts, except for the fact he is a Specter guy. So the day after Steve Forbes joins the Giuliani campaign he lines up a local supporter of Arlen Specter. Giuliani’s tent is big, and if I were the other GOP candidates I would be pretty sure at this point that his early polling is not a name recognition hiccup. It is, rather, a confirmation that Giuliani isthe clear frontrunner in the race, able to garner support from diverse constituencies within the GOP with his leadership and his message.
Apparently the state GOP is considering a straw poll here in PA to officially determine which way the wind is blowing in the presidential primary. [HT Grassroots PA, although it is a Drobnyk piece in The Morning Call]
I imagine this has something to do with the fact that every GOP presidential candidate that beat the Pennsylvania bushes for ducats last week found the response underwhelming. Except, of course, Rudy Giuliani. I also imagine they want to encourage candidates to pay attention to the state despite the fact our primary currently will be a political vestigial tail taking place in April.
Interestingly, the reason the primary may not move up from April is because the state GOP is against it, as that will make it more difficult for them unseat new democrat incumbents in state elections. See this older post from Tony Phyrillas on exactly why that is. I suppose the state GOP wants the best of both worlds: Attention from presidential candidates while simultaneously protecting their best interests locally. I still need to learn more about this before forming a completely coherent opinion.
Charlie Roberts, GOP committeeman and activist from Bethlehem Township, said he felt a straw poll would give “the average guy a chance” to have his voice heard in the primary process if the state GOP is successful in persuading all of us it is a bad idea to move up our presidential primary. If by “average guy” he means the state GOP leadership, I guess he’s right. If he means “nobody bloggers who pay far more attention to politics than most people but have no political connections and no money with which to make political donations” then I believe he may be mistaken.
I am open to learning in more detail why moving up our primary is a bad idea as it relates to promoting the conservative agenda on a local basis. But even if I were convinced I would still be disappointed as I have never in my life cast a vote that matters in a presidential primary. As a politically engaged conservative this stings. I have never, ever been all that thrilled with GOP presidential nominations post-Reagan, and I am too young to have ever voted for him anyway.