Analysis Of The Latest Blogger Poll On The Most & Least Desired 2008 Republican Nominee

The rankings in parentheses are based on the net score of each candidate in the latest blogger poll.

#1) Fred Thompson (80.5): Fred Thompson is generating enormous grassroots enthusiasm on the right, which is a pretty good trick given that conservatives in general seem to be dispirited and angry.

In other words, Fred is the conservative Barack Obama, but unlike Barack, Thompson is essentially even with Giuliani in most polls that don’t include Newt Gingrich. If Fred can keep the momentum going once he gets in the race, he’ll be hard to stop, but there’s no guarantee he can pull it off at this point.

2) Duncan Hunter (50.5): Duncan Hunter, whom I used to consult for, started the race with his name recognition somewhere around 10% or so and unfortunately, because a lot of voters just aren’t tuned in this time of year, he has had trouble gaining ground.

On the other hand, bloggers are always paying attention and because of that, he has managed to quickly add a lot of fans online. In the blogosphere, Hunter is a top tier candidate, but with Fred overshadowing him, it has been very hard to leverage blog support into real world support in places like Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina. The base — the ones that know about him at least — definitely like what he’s selling, but will enough of them find out what he’s all about before the primaries in early 2008? Time will tell and the clock is ticking…

3) Rudy Giuliani (49.5): Given that Rudy is not a conservative and that bloggers are very aware of that fact, this is an excellent finish for him. What it means is that there are a lot of conservatives who are willing to overlook his deficiencies in a number of areas because they think he’s charismatic, electable, and is saying all the right things in the fight against radical Islam.

Rudy has proven that he has staying power and a significant base of support, but the question is whether it will be enough when the field starts to winnow and voters supporting lesser candidates have to decide where to go. Will they move to Rudy or stay to his right? The answer to that question may decide who the Republican nominee is in 2008.

4) Mitt Romney (34.75): Make no mistake about it, Mitt is smooth, polished, he has proven he can raise money, and he has an excellent campaign strategy (Spend lots of money to win in Iowa and New Hampshire and then hope that slingshots him to victory).

That being said, whether it’s because he’s a Mormon, because he’s a little too slick, or because he strikes a lot of people as a Johnny-Come-Lately to conservatism, his support is staying relatively flat nationally and he’s having a lot of trouble winning the base over. Ultimately, if he’s going to win, he’s going to have to find a way to pull in a bigger slice of the conservative pie across the country.

5) Mike Huckabee (11.25): Huckabee isn’t a particularly conservative fellow, but he oozes charisma and as Governor of Arkansas, he is a genuine Washington outsider. Given how unpopular Congress is, that’s a huge asset.

Unfortunately, he has had trouble building name recognition and he doesn’t have the sort of conservative credentials he would need to really catch fire with the base.

6) Newt Gingrich (7.5): Back in January, when I did the last poll of this sort, Newt was actually the most desired candidate, so perhaps he should have been one of the nominees I listed as a possible option.

However, it seems highly unlikely that Newt is going to get in the race in October given that he would be starting off extremely late and in 5th place or perhaps even lower. Honestly, I think Newt’s window of opportunity in this cycle has already passed him by and I’m sure he realizes that by now.

7) Tom Tancredo (-12): Tank is a great conservative and a champion on the illegal immigration issue, but he has been awful in the debates and has come across as a bit of a loose cannon on some issues. So, even though Tank has plenty of fans, myself included, he has too many detractors to have a chance to be the nominee.

8) Tommy Thompson (-40.5): Tommy Thompson seems like a nice enough fella, but to be honest, he’s just out of his depth running for President.

9) John McCain (-44): McCain has burned the base too many times on too many issues that they deeply care about. Because of that, he will never turn the new media around. That will likely make it almost impossible for him to win the nomination.

10) Sam Brownback (-51): What I said about Tommy Thompson goes for Brownback, too.

11) Ron Paul (-77.5): I’m sure some people will be shocked to see Ron Paul finishing dead dog last in a poll like this, but the honest truth is that he’s always going to stink it up in any poll his supporters can’t spam. That’s because Paul’s supporters are not, for the most part, mainstream conservatives.

They’re “Big L” Libertarians who’ll be voting for whatever loser the Libertarian Party puts up in 2008, conspiracy theorists, anti-war liberals, along with a few “Little L” Libertarians, anti-war conservatives, and Paleo-cons thrown in.

What that means is that Paul’s support may be enthusiastic, but it’s also drawn from a very narrow segment of the population that can’t get that much bigger than it already happens to be.

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