Giuliani Maintains Lead as Republican Presidential Preferences Stabilize

by Jeffrey M. Jones

Giuliani maintains 12-point advantage over Fred Thompson

GALLUP NEWS SERVICE

PRINCETON, NJ -- Republicans' presidential preferences have remained highly stable in each of the last three Gallup Polls, with support for the leading candidates varying by not more than a percentage point. The latest survey, conducted Aug. 3-5, 2007, shows Rudy Giuliani as the established frontrunner, with still-unannounced candidate Fred Thompson solidifying his second place standing, John McCain solidly in third, Mitt Romney in fourth, and the remaining candidates at 2% or less support nationwide. The results differ very little when looking at Republicans versus Republican-leaning independents, and also among those who say they are extremely likely to vote in the Republican primary or caucus in their state next year.

In the poll, Giuliani draws the support of 33% of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents, followed by Thompson at 21%, McCain at 16% ,and Romney at 8%. These results exclude support for former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who has not ruled out a bid but also has not taken steps toward a formal candidacy like his fellow unannounced candidate Thompson. Prior to this poll, Gallup had regularly reported results including Gingrich, who is supported by 10% of Republicans when he is included in the ballot.

Most interviews in the poll were conducted before last Sunday's debate in Iowa, though so far the presidential debates have not moved the numbers much on the Republican or Democratic sides.

 

Republicans' Preferences for 2008 Republican Presidential Nominee,
Recent Gallup Polls

Candidate

July 6-8

July 12-15

August 3-5

Average

 

%

%

%

%

         

Rudy Giuliani

32

33

33

33

Fred Thompson

21

21

21

21

John McCain

16

16

16

16

Mitt Romney

9

8

8

8

Mike Huckabee

2

2

2

2

Ron Paul

*

3

2

2

Tommy Thompson

2

1

2

2

Duncan Hunter

3

1

1

2

Sam Brownback

1

2

1

1

Tom Tancredo

2

*

1

1

Chuck Hagel

1

*

1

1

         

Other

*

1

2

 
         

No opinion

10

11

10

 

* = Less than 0.5%

Because the results have been so stable, the data can be combined into a larger sample of Republicans in order to analyze the preferences of various Republican subgroups. The following analyses are based on interviews with over 1,200 Republicans and Republican-leaning independents taken from July and August Gallup polls.

First, among the roughly 6 in 10 Republicans who say they are "extremely likely" to vote in their state's presidential primary or caucus next year, Giuliani remains the leader, maintaining the same 12-point margin over Fred Thompson he holds among all Republicans.

Candidate support also varies little between those who identify as Republicans and those who identify as independents but say they lean Republican. In many states, only those who are registered as Republicans can vote in the primaries, though some states allow independents to participate and others allow party declaration on the same day of the primary or caucus. This distinction makes little difference when it comes to candidate support -- McCain is the only candidate who shows even a hint of doing better among Republicans than Republican leaners.

Because there is a bit of a "favorite son" dynamic in presidential nominating politics, particularly in the early stages of the campaign when not all the candidates are well-known, the patterns of candidate support vary significantly by region. Generally speaking, most candidates are running best in their home region of the country. Still, the only region in which Giuliani is not the top candidate is the South, where Thompson edges him out, though not by a statistically significant margin. Romney performs somewhat better in the Northeast and West than in the Midwest and South.

 

Republicans' Preferences for 2008 Republican Presidential Nominee,
Recent Gallup Polls

Candidate

Northeast

Midwest

South

West

 

%

%

%

%

Rudy Giuliani

45

31

27

33

Fred Thompson

10

17

32

17

John McCain

14

15

17

17

Mitt Romney

11

5

6

13

Mike Huckabee

2

2

4

1

Ron Paul

1

1

2

3

Tommy Thompson

1

3

2

1

Sam Brownback

1

3

1

1

Chuck Hagel

3

1

<1

<1

Tom Tancredo

<1

<1

<1

3

Duncan Hunter

--

2

<1

4

         

Other

3

1

1

--

         

No opinion

10

19

8

8

An analysis of the candidate preferences in the combined data set also yields the following insights:

  • Churchgoing Republicans are less likely to favor Giuliani than non-churchgoing Republicans, but Giuliani is the number one candidate among all Republicans regardless of their churchgoing habits. Among Republicans who report attending church at least monthly, 29% support Giuliani, 22% Fred Thompson, 18% McCain, and 8% Romney. Among Republicans who seldom or never attend church, 38% name Giuliani as their top choice for the nomination, 19% Thompson, 13% McCain, and 9% Romney.
  • Giuliani fares better among younger Republicans (age 18-34, 40%) than among middle age (35-54, 34%) or older Republicans (27%). In contrast, Thompson fares much better among middle age (23%) and older Republicans (24%) than he does among younger Republicans (13%).
  • There is a decided gender gap in support for Fred Thompson -- 26% of male Republicans support him compared with 16% of female Republicans.

For more information, see Related Items.

Survey Methods

These results are based on telephone interviews with a randomly selected national sample of 1,217 Republicans and Republican-leaning independents, aged 18 and older, conducted July 6-8, July 12-15, and Aug. 3-5, 2007. For results based on this sample, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum error attributable to sampling and other random effects is ±3 percentage points. For results based on the sample of 737 Republicans and Republican-leaning independents who say they are "extremely likely" to vote in their state's presidential primary or caucus next year, the maximum margin of sampling error is ±4 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.

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