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McCain rising; leads GOP in national poll

The horror/slasher movies series which began in the '80s, Halloween and Friday the 13th, featured characters who just wouldn't die. John McCain threatens to become the political version as his once-thought-dead campaign has steadily recovered since going on life support in the spring and summer. After weak fundraising toppled him from frontrunner status and forced major retooling of the campaign, McCain refused to go quietly and began fighting. Now he has returned to the top of the GOP list nationally, according to Rasmussen Reports:


For the first time all year, Arizona Senator John McCain finds himself on top with support from 17% of Likely Republican Primary Voters. In the muddled GOP race, McCain becomes the third person to top the poll this month and the fourth since October. But his lead is statistically insignificant--Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee are just a point behind at 16% and Rudy Giuliani is two points back at 15%. Slightly off the pace, but still within five points of McCain, is Fred Thompson at 12%. Ron Paul retains his base support at 7%.

One of the more amazing things about the Republican race this year is that it has grown closer and closer over time (see recent daily numbers). In a poll with a four-percentage point margin of error, the fact that five candidates are within five points means there is absolutely no national frontrunner. Adding to the uncertainty is the fact that 13% of Likely Primary Voters remain undecided.


Read the entire story at the above link. Rasmussen has tended to show Giuliani and McCain with lower support than other polls have, and Huckabee and Thompson with higher numbers than the others.

The numbers themselves are statistically insignificant: with the margin of error, any of the top five could be leading, or in last place. The race is wide open. The most significant aspect for McCain is that he is moving in the right direction, albeit slowly. Romney has also shown slight upward movement, while the rest of the "top tier" candidates are moving in the other direction lately.


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Comments (5)

Romney will win Iowa and co... (Below threshold)
Baggi:

Romney will win Iowa and come in second in NH, behind McCain. The only way McCain loses there is if the Democrat race is so close Independents vote for Democrats they like instead of McCain.

After that, things will really start to get interesting. If Romney pulls out the first two, or even three victories, its all over.

When I saw the Rasmussen po... (Below threshold)
Alan Orfi:

When I saw the Rasmussen poll this morning, I wondered if you would suddenly find favor with them again. I'm not surprised, but do hope you maintain your efforts to expose the liberal histories of our latest front-runner.

The McCain rise is likely to be temporary. I wouldn't be surprised to see him finish a strong third in Iowa and win NH outright, but then he will face the same scrutiny that Huckabee endured as a front-runner. Of course, when conservatives ruminate over the Gang of Fourteen, McCain Feingold and the Kennedy amnesty effort, they will realize that he is far more liberal than Huckabee. The SC and Florida primaries will likely be very difficult for McCain and will further stem his rise.

Conservatives are dying to find their candidate who represents their core beliefs. McCain and Giuliani don't fit the bill. Despite the numbers, I still see Huckabee or Thompson being viable after the Florida primary.

How can any serious conser... (Below threshold)
jainphx:

How can any serious conservative even entertain the thought of voting for McCain. I've voted Republican my whole life, except McCain. I voted for the Libertarian over that nut case every time. He gets a whole lot of Democrapic votes here in Arizona/

Alan Orfi ~ I have posted p... (Below threshold)

Alan Orfi ~ I have posted poll results from nearly every major pollster. Recall your own words, though, from this topic:

By contrast, one of the most reliable pollsters in the country has been Scott Rasmussen. He gave us the Bush win in 2004 within one-fifth of a percentage point. He nailed virtually all the senate races (won mostly by the 'Rats) in 2006. Rasmussen employs a weighting mechanism via a likert scale in order to better determine which respondents possess enough gumption to actually participate on election day. One of Rasmussen's greatest successes, in my opinion, was his foreknowledge that all these millions of young people who were supposedly going to rush out and vote for John Kerry would never show up.

Naturally, all the leading candidates have weaknesses in their appeal to conservatives - perhaps excepting Thompson, who brings the least experience to the table of the top five. I would agree McCain remains a long shot to win. IMO, his best chance lies in a convention where no candidate comes in close to a majority. Since he has only alienated the Romney supporters, he would stand a fair chance of being the second choice of a majority of delegates.

jainphx ~ McCain isn't the first choice of many conservatives, for the reasons Alan Orfi notes above. If it came down to him or Hillary, though, or Obama, most of us would hold our nose and vote for him.

We do have to face facts. Even Reagan wasn't a "perfect" conservative candidate based upon his record. We don't have anyone close to him this year.

I will decide who to vote for in the South Carolina primary, and post my decision here. Since no candidate is brilliant enough to line up exactly with my views on policy, it will be based on who, in my best judgment at the moment, is most likely to be able to win in November.

So we apparently agree on R... (Below threshold)
Alan Orfi:

So we apparently agree on Rusmussen now... I never veered from my original accolades about their work. Rasmussen and Mason Dixon have both been heads and shoulders above their competition while pollsters such as Zogby and now Gallup have been horrible for the past decade. Being a poll junkie, I invested 24 hours of my life last month and did a review of the 8 major pollsters' results in presidential general elections and primaries as well as senatorial races since 2000 and discovered there are HUGE differences in the accuracy of these firms. I am convinced one would get more reliable results by averaging Rasmussen and Mason Dixon than by usiing the RCP averages which, of course, include outlier pollsters such as ARG, Gallup/USA and Zogby/Reuters.

I agree with you that IF McCain wins the nomination, he is a very strong candidate in the general election. He does not make mistakes and he is able to make foreign policy the main voting issue. His liberal views on immigration, marriage, global warming could actually help him a bit in November. However, I just don't see Republicans nominating him once that spotlight shines brightly under his new front-runner status.




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