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Smart Politics Study: Giuliani Descent Linked Equally to Huckabee, Romney, and McCain

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Political pundits have largely explained Rudy Giuliani's decline over the past few months as a direct result of two factors: a) his failed campaign strategy that abandoned the early primary states and b) John McCain's surge—the latter being a logical supposition considering both candidates are considered to vie for the same votes: moderate Republicans and independents.

However, a Smart Politics study of nearly 200 national polls finds that while McCain's surge has helped to dethrone Giuliani of his frontrunner status, support for Giuliani has been equally impacted by Mike Huckabee, and nearly as impacted by Mitt Romney.

A regression analysis was performed of 197 national GOP primary polls conducted between October 2006 and January 2008 with national percentage point support for Rudy Giuliani as the dependent variable. Here are the findings:

  • A 1-point increase in support for McCain caused a .392 point drop in support for Giuliani, holding for support for Fred Thompson, Mitt Romney, Mike Hucakbee, and Ron Paul. Results were significant at the .001 level.
  • However, a 1-point increase in support for Mike Huckabee caused a nearly identical .380 point drop in support for Giuliani, holding for support for Thompson, Romney, McCain, and Paul. Results were significant at the .001 level.
  • Additionally, a 1-point increase in support for Mitt Romney caused a notable .313 point drop in support for Giuliani, holding for support for Thompson, McCain, Huckabee, and Paul. Results were significant at the .05 level.

Variable support for Thompson and Paul did not have a statistically significant impact on Giuliani's performance in the polls.

In short, Giuliani's decline cannot be solely attributed to the McCain surge, but, rather, a combination of McCain, Huckabee, and Romney all taking away support from the former New York City mayor in nearly equal amounts (each also winning primary or caucus contests along the way).

There may have been room at the top for both McCain and Giuliani, but not with Huckabee and Romney performing equally well.

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3 Comments


  • Relation does not prove causation. Isn't it more likely that people realized Giuliani is a creep, and subsequently his competitors' poll numbers rose as his support eroded?

    Giuliani's precipitous drop correlates pretty well to revelations that he was using shady accounting to cover his taxpayer-funded trysts with his mistress, as well as providing her with police escorts even before their relationship was public.

    I'd have written your headline, "Giuliani Descent Linked to Giuliani"

  • OK - but even if there was a measure for 'creepiness' the question I'm asking is, "Where is Giuliani's support going?" The traditional view is almost all of it went to McCain, but the regression analysis I conducted demonstrates it goes to McCain and Hucakbee equally and nearly as much for Romney.

    The very nature of the primary horserace is that someone is taking support away from someone else. Admittedly there are other variables one could introduce into the regression model, such as economic indicators (which are seen to have helped Romney in recent weeks). But, the short of it is that former Giuliani supporters were not monolithic (independent Republicans, moderates etc.). If that were the case we would not have found the strong statistically signficant impact of Huckabee and Romney on Giuliani's support as well.

  • I agree with your comment.

    My only quibble was that the original article made it seem as though McCain, Huckabee, etc. were doing something dynamic to pull support away from Giuliani. Rather, I think you agree, Giuliani self-destructed and the competitors 'inherited' his support.

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    Remains of the Data

    Plurality-Winning Governors Elected At Century-Long High Water Mark

    The rate of gubernatorial candidates elected without the support of a majority of voters is at its highest level since the 1910s.

    Political Crumbs

    Seeing Red

    Congressman Nick Rahall's failed bid for a 20th term in West Virginia this cycle, combined with a narrow loss by Nick Casey to Alex Mooney in Shelley Moore Capito's open seat, means that West Virginia Democrats will be shut out of the state's U.S. House delegation for the first time in over 90 years. The Republican sweep by two-term incumbent David McKinley in the 1st CD, Mooney in the 2nd, and Evan Jenkins over Rahall in the 3rd marks the first time the GOP has held all seats in the chamber from West Virginia since the Election of 1920. During the 67th Congress (1921-1923) all six seats from the state were controlled by the GOP. Since the Election of 1922, Democrats have won 76 percent of all U.S. House elections in the Mountain State - capturing 172 seats compared to 54 for the GOP.


    Home Field Advantage?

    When the 114th Congress convenes in a few days, Maine will be represented by one home-grown U.S. Representative: Waterville-born Republican Bruce Poliquin. With the departure of Millinocket-born Mike Michaud, who launched a failed gubernatorial bid, the Pine Tree State was poised to send a House delegation to D.C. without any Maine-born members for the first time since 1821. Three-term U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree (born in Minnesota) coasted to reelection as expected, however Poliquin edged Kentucky-born Emily Cain by 5.3 points to keep the streak alive. Since 1876, a total of 208 of the 222 candidates elected to the nation's lower legislative chamber from the state have been born in Maine, or 94 percent.


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