Here’s the Iowa poll from ARG. Rudy has dropped 9% to 19% in five months, McCain has stayed the same at 26%, Fred Thompson is at 13%, a 1% increase since ARG first added his name, and Romney is at 14%, up 8% in the past 5 months..
Here’s the ARG numbers for New Hampshire: Rudy has declined from 25% to 17% in five months; McCain has stayed at 29%, though he dipped and recovered in the period; Romney has gone from 9% to 24%; and Fred Thompson debuted at 10% last month but fell to 7% in April.
In South Carolina the data is only three months old: Rudy has dipped from 28% to 23%; McCain opened at 35% and moved up 1% over the three polls. Romney is at 6% up one tick over the three polls, and Thompson opened at 10%.
Contrary to much of what you read in the MSM, Senator Thompson is not blowing away the field though he is going to be a very competitive candidate if he enters the race. The other three each have competitive numbers, though if you take these three data sets and look for momentum, Giuliani’s numbers have fallen a tot al of 22 ticks, McCain has added 1 tick total, Romney has added 22 ticks. (Thompson’s data is too new to really extrapolate a trend from it.)
The results in these three contests will of course massively effect the primaries that follow, which is why the national polls mean so very little. The Iowa and New Hampshire numbers are so tight as to telegraph a long nine months where the canddates are going to have to ask every voter again an again for his or her support, and will have to find ways of staying fresh in the electorate’s eyes.
I said at one panel at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books that Hillary would end up besting Senator Obama because of her decades of experience in executive situations and the substance that experience brings to her campaign will prove to be a decisive advantage. She actually knows a great deal about a great deal of subjects, and as the questions pile up and debate after debate follows, that experience will prove a huge advantage over Senators Edwards and Obama who have really very little in the way of experience to draw on, and none of it executive experience.
On the GOP side, I think the long campaign will favor Rudy and Romney for the same reason –they have long lists of accomplishments on their resume, and none of the baggage of years in the senate to defend. The more the debates focus on complex problems like the management of the war and the military’s necessary build-up, social security and health care, the better off these two look as they will be referrring to their management experience on how to solve problems, whether in the City of New York or the U.S. Attorneys Office or in the world of international finance, the Olympics, or as a governor.
The first debate occurs tomorrow, and Politico.com is inviting you to submit your questions. It arrives after the money and talent primaries and some serious coverage has made the race a virtual dead-heat between the four in Iowa and New Hampshire. I’ll be broadcasting from the Reagan Library tomorrow as the curtain goes up on the debate season.