Clinton-Giuliani Race Quite Predictable

David Paul Kuhn joins the chorus explaining why nominating Rudy Giuliani would mean the end of the Republican Party.

A growing number of influential social conservatives are speaking out against Rudy Giuliani, with some threatening that they will take flight from the Republican Party in 2008 if the former New York mayor is the GOP nominee.

Giuliani’s support for abortion rights and gay rights has not to date prevented him from winning the support of a sizable number of socially conservative voters, according to polls. But the continued strength of his candidacy is causing alarm among leaders of conservative advocacy groups, many of which have been major players in Republican politics.

“Speaking as a private citizen, no, no, I could not support (Giuliani),” said Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, which has about a half-million members. “The 20 years I’ve been involved in politics, the life issue has been at the very top. How could I turn my back on that?” Perkins said that should Giuliani win the nomination, he would vote for a third-party candidate who reflected his values. “It wouldn’t be the first time,” Perkins added in an interview last week.

Other prominent cultural conservatives to signal public opposition to Giuliani in recent weeks included James Dobson of Focus on the Family, Louis Sheldon of the Traditional Values Coalition, veteran activist and former presidential candidate Gary Bauer, and Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention.

I also get several emails a week from Richard Viguerie along these lines.

If recent Gallup polls are to believed, though, a Hillary Clinton-Rudy Giuliani contest in November may well look like any other match-up between Democratic and Republican candidate. Lydia Saad looks at the trends:

According to the combined 2007 surveys, Clinton would beat Giuliani among women, blacks, young voters, in the East, in lower-income households, among singles, liberals, non-Christians, and, of course, Democrats. Giuliani would beat Clinton among most of these groups’ natural counterparts: men, whites, middle-aged adults, seniors, those living in the South and West, upper-income residents, married persons, conservatives, Christians, and Republicans.

Given the historic nature of having a female Democrat running against a socially liberal Catholic Republican, it is remarkable how similar it appears the results would be to the 2004 election in which two white males representing the mainstream politics of the two parties faced off. In that election, President George W. Bush, the Republican, beat Sen. John Kerry, the Democrat, by about a three-point margin. (This comparison is made using Gallup’s final pre-election poll from November of 2004, based on the subset of “likely voters” who most closely represent the electorate. Of the last six presidential elections, the results based on likely voters have only once deviated from the results based on registered voters by more than a few points.)

Most notably, it appears Clinton would run no stronger among women than Kerry did in 2004 — or, for that matter, than Al Gore did when running against Bush in 2000. On average in 2007, women prefer Clinton over Giuliani by a six-point margin — 53% to 47%, respectively. That is not much different from women’s four-point preference for Kerry over Bush in 2004, or the eight-point preference for Gore over Bush in 2000.

A Clinton-Giuliani race may be more striking for its impact on the male vote. Men favor Giuliani over Clinton by a 16-point margin in 2007. That compares with a 12-point lead among men for Bush over Kerry among 2004, and a 7-point lead among men for Bush over Gore in 2000.

Now, as I always note when dealing with Gallup polls, this is a sample of registered voters with no “likely voter” screen applied. It is, therefore, merely a reflection of opinion rather than a predictor of action. Still, the breakdown by gender, region, religious denomination, church attendance, and marital status look remarkably like those in 2000 and 2004.

While hard core conservatives may well be disillusioned with President Bush and reluctant to vote for Giuliani, it’s hard to believe they’re going to sit home or cast a protest vote that would ensure Hillary Clinton got elected. Similarly, whatever disaffection the Netroots might have for Hillary, they’ll hold their nose and vote for her over a Giuliani, McCain, Romney, Thompson, or Gingrich. There’s a reason people identify with a party and vote with it in presidential cycle after presidential cycle.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. cian says:

    James,

    Whether the republican base will or will not vote for Giuliani is of no significance. The country has shown, and I believe will continue to show, a marked reluctance to vote for anyone who will not discuss the Iraq war realistically. Romney’s ‘double up on GITMO’; McCain’s armed guard tour through a Baghdad market that was blown up before and after his visit, and Giuliani’s ‘fear up’ approach to the American people disqualify all three from serious consideration come the big event.

  2. William d'Inger says:

    … it’s hard to believe they’re going to sit home or cast a protest vote that would ensure Hillary Clinton got elected.

    Why not? It worked for Bill Clinton when stupid conservatives gave their protest vote to H. Ross Perot.

  3. James Joyner says:

    It worked for Bill Clinton when stupid conservatives gave their protest vote to H. Ross Perot.

    Most of the analysis I’ve seen indicates it was stupid moderates who voted for Perot rather than biting the bullet and deciding between Clinton and Bush Sr.

  4. William d'Inger says:

    Most of the analysis I’ve seen indicates it was stupid moderates who voted for Perot rather than biting the bullet and deciding between Clinton and Bush Sr.

    Um, that’s exceedingly odd. Around here it was the stauchest conservatives who went with Perot while the moderates cautioned against throwing away the election in protest. Of course, Louisiana isn’t known for being like the rest of the country.

  5. James Joyner says:

    Around here it was the stauchest conservatives who went with Perot

    One case study I found with a quick Web search:

    It is also useful to examine the results of some of the Gallup Polls conducted prior to the 1992 Presidential election. A survey conducted during 13-15 October (less than 3 weeks before the election) asked voters whether there was any chance they would vote for a candidate other than the one they said they planned to vote for. Seventy-eight percent of Perot supporters said they might vote for another candidate as opposed to 43% of Bush supporters and 37% of Clinton supporters. When Perot supporters were asked what they would do if, in November, it looked like Perot could not win, 36% said they would vote for Perot anyway, while 26% said they would switch to Bush, 30% said they would switch to Clinton, and 8% expressed no opinion [51]. These results also suggest strategic behavior.

    Probably, the pull from Bush and Clinton was pretty similar.

    Now, I’ve often argued that the fact that Perot entered the race to begin with made it easier fr people to move away from Bush and then on to Clinton. If that’s testable, though, I don’t know the methodology.

  6. William d'Inger says:

    James,

    Your evidence forces me to conclude that the people I know are not typical conservatives. I can assure you of one thing though. They will not vote for a gay lovin’ abortionist from NYC who believes in gun control. THAT AIN’T GONNA HAPPEN!!!

    Would they actually forfeit the election? If they act the way they say (you never know for sure), you can bet the farm on it.

    It’s probably academic anyway. I believe this is Hillary’s election to lose, and it’d take a pretty big blunder for that. Her worst mistake (IMHO) would be to pick Obama for VP. The country is ready for a woman president, a black president and even black female president, but the combined Clinton and Obama negatives are probably insurmountable.