Giuliani Has Uniquely Broad Based Political Appeal

Gallup’s Lydia Saad reports that Rudy Giuliani is the only candidate running for president this cycle that has broad support among “their political base, political independents, and even members of the opposing party.”

Gallup Net Support

With relatively high ratings from Republicans, independents, and Democrats, Giuliani enjoys the most positive national image of the six presidential frontrunners (+44 net favorable). He is followed fairly closely by McCain and Obama. These three also have a sizeable number of Americans expressing no opinion of them (at least 12%), which provides some valuable opportunity to improve their ratings as more people get to know them.

Gore has the lowest national image score (+7). Not only does he receive mixed reviews from independents and poor reviews from Republicans, his image among Democrats is far from optimal. Clinton’s national image sore (+18) is only slightly better, specifically because she is nearly universally applauded by Democrats.

Giuliani has a lot of potential to drop, of course, as the public perception of him as a post-9/11 hero meets up with the reality of him as a politician. As the frontrunner, he’ll be the target of the most negative ads and fire from his opponents. We’ll see how he stands up to that.

Obama presumably has the most room for growth, simply because he’s not particularly well known. Then again, that could work as much to his disadvantage, as he’s forced to take stances on divisive issues.

Al Gore’s low standings are interesting, as he’s the subject of a little boomlet at the moment with the Oscar win, a “Washington Whispers” piece speculating that he’s made so much money in the private sector the last couple of years that he could self-finance a late bid, and a Politico column by Mike Allen about clamoring for such a run.

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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. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. But remember, with 70 point net favorable in his own party, Rudy doesn’t have a chance of getting through the republican primaries.

    And with a 77 point net favorable in her party, Hillary can’t win in the democratic primaries.

    Ah the conventional wisdom of the chattering class.

  2. Brian says:

    Hmmm. Obama vs. Guliani would be an interesting match up. Two Northerners for a change. As you say, though, much depends on how much Giuliani might drop, or Obama might rise.

    With as much fervor some democrats place on Obama, I’m still not convinced he will get the party nod. Clinton has the largest war chest, but she’s too much of a lightning rod on both sides.

    My suspicion is that if Guiliani gets the Republican nod, the Democrats will go with someone like Edwards. Southern, young, and “populist” (note the quotes).

  3. Brian,

    How much do you think the two primaries are going to play off themselves? It’s not like one side picks first. The structure of the republican nominating process tends toward getting a decision sooner, but I’m not sure there would really be enough time for the democrat’s process to react.

  4. just me says:

    YAJ I don’t know that a 70 percent favorable would be bad for their own party. I think the key is whether the people among that 70% are those who are likely to vote in the primaries.

    But 70% is pretty high-especially compared to those of the other GOP possibles.

    I think though, in general it is too soon to tell either way-especially since the GOP candidates aren’t going at it too much (or when they are the media isn’t slobbering over themselves to cover it).

    Obama and Hillary already seem to be taking shots at each other, especially the Hillary camp, who I think is legitimately worried about Obama.

  5. just me,

    My original comment was really about those pundits who say Rudy is not nominatable or that Hillary’s candidacy is doomed.

    Favorable ratings don’t necessarily track to votes or polls, but they are probably as positive measure as you can do this far out. There are no real surprises here. Hillary and Gore are both well known by the GOP and intensely disliked. While they have a net positive among independents, they have a pretty anemic net positive. The only thing that surprises me is how much lower Gore is held by democrats compared to Hillary.

    Obama is a tabla rosa that people are projecting on. This worked for Carter in 76, but he didn’t come to the front until New Hampshire. I suspect Obama is going to have a hard time lasting. Carter waned over the campaign and came within a few thousand votes of losing to Ford.

    In a way, the own party net positive is only indicative of the primary, not the general election. Both parties are likely to come home for anyone on those lists. The swing is in the middle and to the extent you can poach from the other side. Fortunately for the GOP, their candidates look to be in the best shape to do both of these things.

  6. Brian says:

    I think the primaries on both sides will feed off each other. Right now everyone is looking at the candidates they like, largely independent of who can or can’t win. As front-runners start solidifying, people will shift to the more strategic aspect of “electability.”

  7. Danica Pope says:

    when it comes down to the race it will most likely be Giuliani vs. Obama