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Rudy Holds Strong Lead for California Primary; Leads Among Conservative Christians

August 29, 2007

The most recent California Poll (pdf) conducted by The Field Poll organization shows that Rudy Giuliani maintains a solid lead among Republicans, some six months before the California primary on February 5, 2008.

Mayor Giuliani leads with 35% support among Republicans, virtually unchanged since the Field Poll’s March survey which showed Giuliani at 34% support. Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney is second with 14%; former Senator Fred Thompson is third with 13%; Senator John McCain fourth with 9%. With Giuliani’s support in California remaining solid, the second-tiered candidates are jockeying for position. In March, McCain was second with 24%, Thompson third with 8%, and Romney fourth with 7%. While the past five months have seen Romney and Thompson increase their support among California Republicans, and McCain’s support collapse, Rudy’s support equals the combined preference for Romney, Thompson, and McCain.

Of particular interest in this month’s California poll are some of the details: Among Republicans who identify themselves as “strongly conservative,” Giuliani’s support is higher than his average support among all Republicans: 38%. Romney and Thompson are tied among the “strongly conservative” at 16%.

Giuliani also has a strong support among born-again Christians: 37%, compared to Thompson’s 16% and Romney’s 7%. Interestingly, Giuliani’s 37% level of support among born-again Christians is slightly higher than among Republicans who do not consider themselves born-again: 37% to 35%.

These results, again, fly in the face of the conventional wisdom of some opinion leaders on the right who still, at this late date, maintain that Rudy will not win the support of the conservative base of the GOP, including evangelical Christians. In fact, these two groups give Rudy a higher level of support than the across-the-board numbers of all Republicans in California.

Often touted as a national bell-weather state (while what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, what happens in California tends to spread to the rest of the nation), Giuliani’s solid position across-the-board among California Republicans may prove to be a fair predictor of his support nationally among Republicans.

Greg Alterton