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Giuliani Edges Out McCain in Perceptions of Viability for Presidency

Giuliani Edges Out McCain in Perceptions of Viability for Presidency

Giuliani especially strong among Republicans

GALLUP NEWS SERVICE

PRINCETON, NJ -- With former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani and Arizona Sen. John McCain dominating Republican preferences for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination, the GOP race is very much a "Tale of Two Candidates" at this point. A new Gallup Panel survey, conducted Feb. 22-25, 2007, also finds Giuliani and McCain holding huge advantages over the rest of the Republican field in their perceived chances of winning the general election. However, between Giuliani and McCain, Giuliani has the advantage in public perceptions of each man's chances of becoming president -- particularly with Republicans. (Results for the same question about the Democratic candidates are reported separately. See "Democrats View Hillary Clinton as Most Electable Democratic Candidate" in Related Items.)

Of the top five Republicans in the race, Giuliani and McCain are the only two perceived by the public, including by Republicans, to have either an "excellent" or "good" chance of winning the election in November 2008.

None of the candidates are viewed by a majority of Americans or Republicans as having "no chance" of winning. But, of the top five candidates, the bottom three are generally deemed to have no better than a "slim" chance.

Details

Among the general public, Giuliani's and McCain's chances of winning the presidency in 2008 are rated about equally: 74% say Giuliani has an excellent or good chance and 70% say this about McCain. Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney is perceived as highly electable by only 27% of Americans, followed by former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (with 23%) and Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback (with 12%).

The more immediate concern of the candidates as they look ahead to next year's primaries and caucuses is likely to be for perceptions within their own party. Giuliani has a slight advantage over McCain in the percentage of Republicans nationally saying each has an excellent or good chance of winning the presidency: 82% for Giuliani vs. 73% for McCain. Romney ranks third, but with a bit more positive rating among Republicans than is seen with the general public (38% of Republicans say he has an excellent or good chance, compared with 27% of all Americans). Republicans' prognoses for the Gingrich and Brownback candidacies, however, are as low as the general public's ratings.

Ratings of Candidates' Changes of Being
Elected President in 2008 as "Excellent/Good"

Feb. 22-25, 2007

National
adults

Republicans

%

%

Rudy Giuliani

74

82

John McCain

70

73

Mitt Romney

27

38

Newt Gingrich

23

26

Sam Brownback

12

13

Giuliani Beats McCain in Head-to-Head Comparison of Electability

Gallup's most recent trial heat measure of Republican preferences for 2008 was conducted Feb. 9-11, 2007. That poll showed Republicans favoring former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani for the nomination over Arizona Sen. John McCain by a 16-point margin, 40% to 24%.

Republicans also have a more positive view of Giuliani with a net favorable rating (percentage favorable minus percentage unfavorable) of +70 for Giuliani vs. +48 for McCain. (See "Giuliani Has Uniquely Broad-Based Political Appeal" in Related Items.)

According to the new poll, Giuliani also holds an advantage on electability when respondents are asked to choose which of the two leading Republicans has the better chance of winning the election. Giuliani beats McCain by 20 percentage points among Republicans on this measure, 60% vs. 40%.

Among the public at large, Giuliani has only a slight lead over McCain on this measure of viability: 53% of Americans choose him while 45% choose McCain. This is because Democrats -- and to a lesser degree, independents -- are more likely than Republicans to perceive McCain as the stronger candidate.

Gingrich and Romney Don't Compete on Viability

The public expresses little doubt about Giuliani's superiority over the third and fourth place Republican candidates. Only 15% of Americans think either Gingrich or Romney has the better chance than Giuliani of being elected president in 2008; more than 80% choose Giuliani in each comparison. The numbers are similar among Republicans.

Survey Methods

Results for this panel study are based on telephone interviews with 1,018 national adults, aged 18 and older, conducted Feb. 22-25, 2007. Respondents were randomly drawn from Gallup's nationally representative household panel, which was originally recruited through random selection methods. For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±4 percentage points.

Results for the Feb. 9-11, 2007 poll are based on telephone interviews with 1,006 national adults, aged 18 and older. For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±3 percentage points.

In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.

7. Assuming each of the following Republicans runs for president, please say whether you think each one would have an excellent chance, a good chance, only a slim chance, or no chance at all of being elected president in November 2008. How about -- [RANDOM ORDER]?

2007 Feb 22-25
(based on percent "excellent/good")

All
adults

Repub-
licans

Indep-
endents

Demo-
crats

%

%

%

%

Former New York City Mayor, Rudy Giuliani

74

82

75

67

Arizona Senator, John McCain

70

73

73

65

Former Massachusetts Governor, Mitt Romney

27

38

24

21

Former Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich

23

26

21

20

Kansas Senator, Sam Brownback

12

13

12

11

FULL RESULTS

A. Kansas Senator, Sam Brownback

2007 Feb 22-25

Excellent

Good

Slim

No
chance

No
opinion

%

%

%

%

%

Total

1

11

45

31

12

 

 

 

 

 

Republicans

2

11

42

31

14

Independents

1

11

44

30

14

Democrats

*

11

49

31

9

* = Less than 0.5%

B. Former Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich

2007 Feb 22-25

Excellent

Good

Slim

No
chance

No
opinion

%

%

%

%

%

Total

3

20

46

29

2

 

 

 

 

 

Republicans

4

22

55

17

2

Independents

1

20

47

28

3

Democrats

2

18

38

40

2

C. Former New York City Mayor, Rudy Giuliani

2007 Feb 22-25

Excellent

Good

Slim

No
chance

No
opinion

%

%

%

%

%

Total

20

54

16

8

1

 

 

 

 

 

Republicans

29

53

11

7

--

Independents

16

59

13

10

2

Democrats

17

50

24

7

1

D. Arizona Senator, John McCain

2007 Feb 22-25

Excellent

Good

Slim

No
chance

No
opinion

%

%

%

%

%

Total

16

54

21

9

1

 

 

 

 

 

Republicans

16

57

18

9

1

Independents

16

57

21

6

1

Democrats

15

50

24

11

*

* = Less than 0.5%

E. Former Massachusetts Governor, Mitt Romney

2007 Feb 22-25

Excellent

Good

Slim

No
chance

No
opinion

%

%

%

%

%

Total

2

25

50

15

8

 

 

 

 

 

Republicans

3

35

43

10

9

Independents

1

23

53

14

9

Democrats

1

20

53

19

7

8. Who do you think would have the better chance of being elected president in 2008 -- [ROTATED: Rudy Giuliani, (or) John McCain]?

2007 Feb 22-25

Giuliani

McCain

No
opinion

%

%

%

Total

53

45

2

 

 

 

Republicans

60

40

*

Independents

52

45

3

Democrats

49

49

2

* = Less than 0.5%

9. Who do you think would have the better chance of being elected president in 2008 – [ROTATED: Rudy Giuliani, (or) Mitt Romney]?

2007 Feb 22-25

Giuliani

Romney

No
opinion

%

%

%

Total

84

14

2

 

 

 

Republicans

81

18

1

Independents

83

15

2

Democrats

87

11

2

10. Who do you think would have the better chance of being elected president in 2008 – [ROTATED: Rudy Giuliani, (or) Newt Gingrich]?

2007 Feb 22-25

Giuliani

Gingrich

No
opinion

%

%

%

Total

82

15

3

 

 

 

Republicans

82

17

1

Independents

77

14

8

Democrats

86

12

2

11. As you may know, John McCain has been a strong supporter of the war in Iraq and of President Bush's plans to increase the number of U.S. troops in Iraq. Does this make you – [ROTATED: much more likely to support McCain for president, somewhat more likely, does it make no difference, does it make you somewhat less likely, (or) much less likely to support McCain for president]?

2007
Feb 22-25

Much
more
likely

Some-
what
more
likely

No
differ-
ence

Some-
what
less
likely

Much
less
likely

No
opinion

%

%

%

%

%

%

13

12

29

11

33

1

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