Ranking The Top Tier Candidates On Conservatism

According to Rasmussen, Republican voters have been suckered into believing that Mitt Romney is a hardcore conservative,

Mitt Romney now tops Thompson and is seen as the most conservative candidate while Mike Huckabee is gaining ground fast on that front. The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey data shows that 46% of Republican voters see Romney as politically conservative. That’s up ten percentage points from 36% a month ago. Romney has also opened a significant lead in New Hampshire, home of the first Republican Presidential Primary.

…Moving up fast in the competition for most conservative contender is Mike Huckabee. Thirty-eight percent (38%) now view him as politically conservative, twenty percent (20%) say moderate, and 6% liberal. In July, before the Huckabee boomlet began, just 21% viewed him as conservative while 27% said moderate or liberal.

…Just 30% of Republican voters see John McCain as politically conservative, unchanged from a month ago. Twenty-seven percent (27%) hold that view of Giuliani, little changed over the past month. Giuliani continues to lead in the national polls and is currently seen as the most electable Republican.

Looked at from the other perspective, 70% see Giuliani as moderate or liberal while 64% of Republicans say the same of McCain. Thompson is viewed as moderate or liberal by 37% of GOP voters, Romney by 33%, and Huckabee by 26%.

Ron Paul is viewed as politically conservative by just 16% of Republican voters. Twenty-six percent (26%) view him as politically moderate, 16% say liberal, and 42% have no opinion.

Here’s a little breakdown ranking the top tier candidates on their conservatism,

5) Rudy Giuliani: Ideologically, he’s a tough-talking Arlen Specter. In other words, he’s not conservative at all and if you look at his record as a whole from his time in NYC, you could even make a case that he was just to the left-of-center on domestic policy.

Tie 3) Mike Huckabee: He’s a more socially conservative version of George Bush with great people skills. In other words, if you’re a fan of big government Republicans, Mike’s your man.

Tie 3) John McCain: McCain isn’t a movement conservative, is unfriendly to social conservatives, and he is best known amongst conservatives for high profile betrayals on the Right, but he is at least fiscally conservative.

2) Mitt Romney: It’s extremely difficult to rank Mitt because he’s the classic example of a politician who tells his audiences what they want to hear. When he was in Massachusetts, he came across as a RINO in the early years, governed moderately to the right-of-center, and now he is trying to come across as Ronald Reagan reincarnated.

Of course, if he does win the nomination, he can be expected to move a few steps back to the center. In other words, he doesn’t seem to have a lot of core beliefs and he’ll take conservative positions as long as he believes that it’s advantageous to him at the polls.

1) Fred Thompson: A real movement conservative who believes in Federalism, small government, and fiscal conservatism.

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