Giuliani Would Be Acceptable Nominee to Nearly 3 in 4 Republicans

by Jeffrey M. Jones

Three leading Democratic candidates acceptable to roughly 80% of Democrats

GALLUP NEWS SERVICE

PRINCETON, NJ -- Even though Rudy Giuliani's views on some issues are out of step with most members of his party, nearly three quarters of Republicans say the former New York City mayor would be an acceptable presidential nominee to them, far more than say this about any other Republican candidate. Meanwhile, roughly 8 in 10 Democrats say each of the three leading contenders for their party's nomination -- New York Senator Hillary Clinton, Illinois Senator Barack Obama, and former North Carolina Senator John Edwards -- would be acceptable to them. There has been relatively little change in Democrats' opinions compared with this time a year ago, but many more Republicans now say that former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney would be an acceptable presidential nominee.

The June 25-28 survey interviewed nationally representative samples of 536 Democrats (including Democratic-leaning independents) and 426 Republicans (including Republican-leaning independents) drawn from Gallup's household panel. Each sample was asked whether the candidates (or possible candidates) for their party's presidential nomination would be acceptable or not acceptable to them. This provides an upper-limit measure of support -- that is, regardless of whether a candidate is a respondent's first, second, third (or lower) choice, would the respondent be comfortable with that candidate as their party's standard bearer in 2008.

Seventy-four percent of Republicans say Giuliani would be an acceptable GOP presidential nominee in 2008, easily the highest percentage among that field of candidates. The next tier of Republican contenders is acceptable to a smaller majority of Republicans, and includes former Tennessee Senator Fred Thompson (59%), Arizona Senator John McCain (57%), and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney (53%). The remaining candidates all fall below the majority level, with former House Speaker Newt Gingrich the closest at 49% and California Rep. Duncan Hunter last at 16%. A majority of rank-and-file Republicans view six candidates -- including Hunter, Texas Rep. Ron Paul, Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel, Colorado Rep. Tom Tancredo, Kansas Senator Sam Brownback, and former Virginia Governor Jim Gilmore (who ended his candidacy last week) -- as unacceptable.

(Asked of Republicans and independents who lean to the Republican Party) Next, I'm going to read you a list of people who may run or are running for the Republican nomination for president in 2008. For each, please tell me if you would find that person to be an acceptable nominee for president from the Republican Party, or not. First, [RANDOM ORDER].

           

Acceptable

Not acceptable

%

%

Former New York City Mayor, Rudy Giuliani

74

23

Former Tennessee Senator, Fred Thompson

59

27

Arizona Senator, John McCain

57

41

Former Massachusetts Governor, Mitt Romney

53

37

Former Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich

49

48

Former Wisconsin Governor, Tommy Thompson

35

45

Former Arkansas Governor, Mike Huckabee

32

49

Kansas Senator, Sam Brownback

28

51

Colorado Congressman, Tom Tancredo

25

50

Nebraska Senator, Chuck Hagel

24

53

Former Virginia Governor, Jim Gilmore

23

51

Texas Congressman, Ron Paul

21

56

California Congressman, Duncan Hunter

16

58

Gallup asked this same question one year ago. Most of the Republican candidates included in that poll have seen a slight increase in the percentage of Republicans calling them acceptable nominees. McCain is a notable exception, scoring 57% this year and last.

Romney has shown the greatest gains, from 26% in 2006 to 53% in 2007, with most of the growth due to his increased recognition -- 32% did not have an opinion on Romney in 2006, compared with 9% this year. His unacceptable ratings dipped only slightly, from 42% to 37%.

Another former governor, Arkansas' Mike Huckabee, also posted double-digit gains on this measure, from 17% to 32%. Still, more Republicans say they would find him to be an unacceptable (49%) rather than an acceptable (32%) presidential nominee.

Change in Acceptable Ratings of Republican Candidates
2006-2007

Candidate

Acceptable
2006

Acceptable
2007

Change

%

%

%

Rudy Giuliani

71

74

+3

John McCain

57

57

0

Mitt Romney

26

53

+27

Newt Gingrich

43

49

+6

Mike Huckabee

17

32

+15

Sam Brownback

18

28

+10

Note: Gilmore, Hagel, Hunter, Tancredo, T. Thompson, F. Thompson, and Paul were not included in the 2006 survey.

Giuliani's views on abortion, gay civil unions, and gun control run counter to the views of many, if not most, Republicans. The question is whether the party, which includes a large number of religious conservatives and has only nominated pro-life and pro-gun candidates since 1980, could bring itself to nominate the popular former New York City mayor.

The poll finds the vast majority of religious Republicans would find Giuliani acceptable as the Republican presidential candidate in 2008. Among Republicans who describe themselves as "born again or evangelical," 69% say they would find Giuliani to be an acceptable GOP nominee, the highest percentage for any candidate among this group (McCain and Fred Thompson are next at 58% and 57%, respectively). Also, among Republicans who attend religious services on a weekly basis, 64% say they would find Giuliani acceptable, with Fred Thompson next at 60%. Giuliani's numbers are better among less religious Republicans, but, clearly, he does no worse on this measure of potential support than any other candidate among religious Republicans.

On the Democratic side, Clinton has maintained a solid lead over her competitors for the Democratic nomination in Gallup's polls throughout the year. However, about as many Democrats say they would find Obama (78%) or Edwards (77%) as acceptable choices for the 2008 Democratic presidential nominee as say this about Clinton (82%). Former Vice President Al Gore, who may yet enter the race, would be acceptable to 72% of Democrats. The long odds faced by the rest of the field of announced candidates are underscored by the fact that all five are viewed as unacceptable nominees by a majority of Democrats.

(Asked of Democrats and independents who lean to the Democratic Party) Next, I'm going to read you a list of people who may run or are running for the Democratic nomination for president in 2008. For each, please tell me if you would find that person to be an acceptable nominee for president from the Democratic Party, or not. First, [RANDOM ORDER].

Acceptable

Not acceptable

%

%

New York Senator, Hillary Clinton

82

17

Illinois Senator, Barack Obama

78

19

Former North Carolina Senator, John Edwards

77

21

Former Vice President, Al Gore

72

27

New Mexico Governor, Bill Richardson

35

52

Delaware Senator, Joe Biden

35

53

Connecticut Senator, Christopher Dodd

28

59

Ohio Congressman, Dennis Kucinich

20

63

Former Alaska Senator, Mike Gravel

13

67

Most Democrats have shown little or no gain in their acceptability ratings compared with last year. The exceptions are Clinton, whose ratings have increased 11 percentage points, and Edwards, with an 8-percentage point increase. Gallup did not test Obama, who began pursuing a presidential bid in the fall, in last year's poll. Views of Gore as the nominee have not changed much even though he has been the subject of much publicity in the past year.    

Change in Acceptable Ratings of Democratic Candidates
2006-2007

Candidate

Acceptable
2006

Acceptable
2007

Change

%

%

%

Hillary Clinton

71

82

+11

John Edwards

69

77

+8

Al Gore

70

72

+2

Bill Richardson

37

35

-2

Joe Biden

39

35

-4

Dennis Kucinich

22

20

-2

Note: Dodd, Gravel, and Obama were not included in the 2006 survey.

Survey Methods

Results for this Gallup Panel study are based on telephone interviews with 1,014 national adults, aged 18 and older, conducted June 25-28. Gallup panel members are recruited through random selection methods. The panel is weighted so that it is demographically representative of the U.S. adult population.

For results based on the sample of 536 Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents, the maximum margin of sampling error is ±5 percentage points.

For results based on the sample of 426 Republicans and Republican-leaning independents, the maximum margin of sampling error is ±5 percentage points.

In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.

15. (Asked of Democrats and independents who lean to the Democratic Party) Next, I'm going to read you a list of people who may run or are running for the Democratic nomination for president in 2008. For each, please tell me if you would find that person to be an acceptable nominee for president from the Democratic Party, or not. First, [RANDOM ORDER].
BASED ON 536 DEMOCRATS OR DEMOCRATIC LEANERS

            A. Delaware Senator, Joe Biden

Acceptable

Not
acceptable

No
opinion

%

%

%

2007 Jun 25-28

35

53

11

 

 

 

2006 Jun 26-29

39

40

21

            B. New York Senator, Hillary Clinton

Acceptable

Not
acceptable

No
opinion

%

%

%

2007 Jun 25-28

82

17

1

 

 

 

2006 Jun 26-29

71

27

2

            C. Connecticut Senator, Christopher Dodd
           

Acceptable

Not
acceptable

No
opinion

2007 Jun 25-28

28%

59

13

            D. Former North Carolina Senator, John Edwards

Acceptable

Not
acceptable

No
opinion

%

%

%

2007 Jun 25-28

77

21

1

 

 

 

2006 Jun 26-29

69

27

4

            E. Former Vice President, Al Gore

Acceptable

Not
acceptable

No
opinion

%

%

%

2007 Jun 25-28

72

27

1

 

 

 

2006 Jun 26-29

70

29

1

            F. Former Alaska Senator, Mike Gravel

Acceptable

Not
acceptable

No
opinion

2007 Jun 25-28

13%

67

20

            G. Ohio Congressman, Dennis Kucinich

Acceptable

Not
acceptable

No
opinion

%

%

%

2007 Jun 25-28

20

63

16

 

 

 

2006 Jun 26-29

22

52

27

            H. Illinois Senator, Barack Obama

Acceptable

Not
acceptable

No
opinion

2007 Jun 25-28

78%

19

3

            I. New Mexico Governor, Bill Richardson

Acceptable

Not
acceptable

No
opinion

%

%

%

2007 Jun 25-28

35

52

12

 

 

 

2006 Jun 26-29

37

39

25

16. (Asked of Republicans and independents who lean to the Republican Party) Next, I'm going to read you a list of people who may run or are running for the Republican nomination for president in 2008. For each, please tell me if you would find that person to be an acceptable nominee for president from the Republican Party, or not. First, [RANDOM ORDER].
BASED ON 426 REPUBLICANS OR REPUBLICAN LEANERS

           

            A. Kansas Senator, Sam Brownback

Acceptable

Not
acceptable

No
opinion

%

%

%

2007 Jun 25-28

28

51

21

 

 

 

2006 Jun 26-29

18

39

43

            B. Former Virginia Governor, Jim Gilmore            

Acceptable

Not
acceptable

No
opinion

2007 Jun 25-28

23%

51

26

            C. Former Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich

Acceptable

Not
acceptable

No
opinion

%

%

%

2007 Jun 25-28

49

48

4

 

 

 

2006 Jun 26-29

43

51

7

            D. Former New York City Mayor, Rudy Giuliani

Acceptable

Not
acceptable

No
opinion

%

%

%

2007 Jun 25-28

74

23

2

 

 

 

2006 Jun 26-29

71

24

5

            E. Nebraska Senator, Chuck Hagel

Acceptable

Not
acceptable

No
opinion

2007 Jun 25-28

24%

53

23

            F. Former Arkansas Governor, Mike Huckabee

Acceptable

Not
acceptable

No
opinion

%

%

%

2007 Jun 25-28

32

49

19

 

 

 

2006 Jun 26-29

17

40

43

            G. California Congressman, Duncan Hunter

Acceptable

Not
acceptable

No
opinion

2007 Jun 25-28

16%

58

26

            H. Arizona Senator, John McCain

Acceptable

Not
acceptable

No
opinion

%

%

%

2007 Jun 25-28

57

41

3

 

 

 

2006 Jun 26-29

57

36

6

            I. Former Massachusetts Governor, Mitt Romney

Acceptable

Not
acceptable

No
opinion

%

%

%

2007 Jun 25-28

53

37

9

 

 

 

2006 Jun 26-29

26

42

32

            J. Colorado Congressman, Tom Tancredo

Acceptable

Not
acceptable

No
opinion

2007 Jun 25-28

25%

50

25

            K. Former Wisconsin Governor, Tommy Thompson

Acceptable

Not
acceptable

No
opinion

2007 Jun 25-28

35%

45

20

            L. Former Tennessee Senator, Fred Thompson

Acceptable

Not
acceptable

No
opinion

%

%

%

2007 Jun 25-28

59

27

14

            M. Texas Congressman, Ron Paul

Acceptable

Not
acceptable

No
opinion

2007 Jun 25-28

21%

56

24

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