Fred Thompson Makes Inroads With “Values Voters”

He’s gone way ahead of Giuliani among church-going Republicans.

Fred Thompson may have failed to impress Beltway insiders when he finally launched his run for the White House last month, but he is winning over a critical segment of the Republican coalition, new polling suggests.

Conservative Christians favor Thompson by a 10-point margin over his closest rival, Rudy Giuliani.

It’s a sharp reversal for Giuliani. The putative GOP frontrunner had been winning social conservative backing despite his history of support for abortion rights and gay rights.

Thompson has changed that.

Giuliani leads Thompson 29 to 21 percent among Republicans generally, the new national CBS News poll suggests.

But weekly Republican churchgoers back Thompson by a margin of 29 percent to 19 percent for Giuliani — roughly tying John McCain.

That means that despite criticism of Thompson for his subdued speeches, his pregnant pauses, and his lackluster launch, the Tennessean is succeeding in courting the very base of support his campaign targeted from the outset — the Christian conservatives who have been the largest and most active bloc of the GOP for a generation.

Personally, I’m supporting Thompson not because of his social values but because of his support for federalism and the fact tat he is the most consistently conservative candidate in the field of GOP contenders. But having the values voters on board with him certainly doesn’t hurt, and it’s a situation that will just get better, I think, as the field narrows. Huckabee isn’t going to last that much longer, and once he’s out a significant number of “values voters” will be looking for another candidate. Romney will last longer than Huckabee, but again once he’s out (and he will be given that he can’t even be Hillary in head-to-head polling in Alabama) there will be another influx of “values voters” for the other candidates.

And those voters aren’t exactly going to flock to Giuliani.

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