Giuliani loses his lead in... New York and is increasingly marginalized

I started writing the obituary of Giuliani's late-state strategy months ago, but still allowed that the campaign could possibly be on to something. In particular, their very carefully layed out plan of delegate allocation made some sense: In essence, Rudy argued that NY, NJ and CT are "momentum-proof" states for him that are all winner-take-all and that are sure to put him near the lead of delegates come the morning of February 6th.

For the past few months, Giuliani has been falling in polls just about everywhere, in particular in Florida where the latest poll has him in fourth place. But the latest poll released from SUSA shows that Giuliani has lost his lead in... New York!

  • Giuliani gets 32% to McCain's 29%. Huckabee is far behind at 12% with Romney at 7%, and Thompson at 6%. Giuliani only leads by 11% in New York City.
That's right, three weeks out of the primary before the biggest bulk of the momentum of early victors hits the state, Giuliani's supposedly "momentum-proof" has already melted. And this is before Giuliani gets two more poor showings next week in South Carolina and Michigan. Presumably, a Giuliani victory in Florida could push things towards him again -- but how will Rudy get his lead back there when he has been out of the public eye for weeks now?

That is surely the biggest problem Rudy is facing right now: By abandoning the first five voting-states and concentrating on Florida, Giuliani has not only resigned himself to letting other candidates pick up momentum, but he has also fallen out of media coverage and out of the race's storyline. No one has been really covering Giuliani for weeks now, and his speech on the eve of Iowa was not even televized. The debates are further evidence of Giuliani's marginalization, as no one is really paying attention to him and he is finding himself in the periphery of the conversation.

McCain: This poll clearly suggests just how far McCain is shooting right now nationally, even in states where he has done no campaigning whatsoever. The buzz is favoring him, and Huckabee has to implement a strong Southern strategy to upset McCain's strength in states like New York and California.

Romney: The runner-up in both IA and NH, Romney is also fighting for one of the first two spots in Michigan and South Carolina and will probably get a good score in South Carolina as well. But it is easy to forget, looking at all those results, that once Romeny gets out of his comfort zone of January states where he has campaigned extensively and ran tons of ads, he is a little-known former governor with little chance of breaking double-digits. That is why winning Iowa or New Hampshire was so important to Romney's chances; he needed it to raise his profile and get some buzz going in states like New York... And if he does not get a win next week in Michigan where his dad was governor or Nevada where he has built a solid organization, we won't hear much from Romney once February comes around.



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