Recent polling in Pennsylvania confirms some of what I said yesterday, and also muddies the waters a bit. Giuliani’s strength has slipped in Southeastern PA, but he still remains the dominant presidential candidate in our Commonwealth. Pennsylvania’s leading paper in presidential converage, The Allentown Morning Call, had a poll yesterday. It does look like there’s some pro-McCain spinning going on, though. Analysis from the paper is here, the poll internals are here [PDF]. A poll from Quinnipiac that came out today tells us pretty much the same thing.
The Morning Call poll of all voters shows GOP candidates McCain and Giuliani show very well against potential democrat nominees for president. While Giuliani’s strength is greater, and has a longer track record, McCain’s strength gets equal billing in the analysis to which I linked despite its inconsistency.
The most interesting thing about this poll, though, is what it does not bother to track: How well Romney does in potential match-ups against democrats in Pennsylvania. You see, Romney was running behind Newt and Fred Thompson back in late March, and he’s still sucking wind in PA as we shall see.
This is because when it comes to the relative strength of candidates in their party’s primaries Quinnipiac’s poll has more good news for Team Giuliani. It also has news likely to cause indigestion among democrats. Of course, this exercise remains purely academic as our General Assembly– and former and current Governors– remain uninterested in graciously extending to us a national franchise.
Should PA move its primary up and become relevant, though, Team Giuliani would be very happy. He has opened up a lead to almost three times that of the rest of the field. He garnered 28 points in the poll, with McCain, Romney, Thompson, and Newt clustered within the margin of error between 8-11 apiece.
So when it comes to Pennsylvania, Giuliani remains the clear leader among Republicans, and beats all current potential democrat nominees. It is of some interest to note previously Giuliani beat Clinton in the southeast Philadelphia suburbs, but not Obama. Currently, both Obama and Clinton beat Giuliani in this region. This is not a good indicator, and merits further attention as a potential canary in the mine.
But you know the Democrat that shows the strongest in potential general election match-ups? That’s right, dear hearts, it’s Al Gore! My, it would be fun if he tried a Nixon from the wilderness maneuver. And don’t fool yourselves, he may try. It seems in PA his enviro-cred picks up votes from the GOP upstate. It also may not hurt that he’s from Tennessee and much of Pennsylvania is functionally Southern.
This is confirmed by the fact that he ranks second in a potential democrat primary, and he’s not even running. Those types of numbers certainly persuaded Fred Thompson to take a crack at running, and he’s merely a former senator of the more disinterested breed. Gore actually won the popular vote for president a few years ago.
The takeaway from all this polling, though, is the song remains the same. Pennsylvania Republicans love Rudy Giuliani, and it appears he definitely has the best chance of beating any democrat in a general election. Why? You can all say it with me this time: Because Giuliani sincerely happens reflect the general electorate on a wide range of issues. It’s just that simple.