Posted by Peter W. Schramm
A Quinnipiac poll ("thermometer reading") finds Guiliani the most popular, Obama beats Hillary, with Kerry bringing up the rear, for what its worth.
I have had this argument with a few friends and other interested conservative activists. Most seem to think that Giuliani will not be able to make it out of the primaries, esp. SC and the Super Tuesday Southern primaries, due to his liberalism on abortion and gay rights. +/- his checkered personal past. But they believe that if he did get the nomination he would make a formidable general election candidate.
I argue, however, that he would be a disastrous general election candidate because large portions of the GOP’s evangelical base would revolt. Either staying home or voting third party. Would the "anybody but Hillary" cry be able to keep them in line? Would they hold their nose and vote for Giuliani? I dont see it. Do you think Dobson, for example, would go to bat for Rudy? Would the average conservative evangelical pastor encourage his congregation to go out and cast a proud vote for Rudy? I think the people who think Rudy would make a good general election candidate overestimate what evangelicals are willing to tolerate.
While Giuliani may not get a lot of support from evangelical conservatives, if he does become the GOP general election candidate, he would probably be able to big up a lot of the independents and a good deal of Democratic votes in my opinion to make up for it.
David Weigel has a good article in the latest issue of Reason about how the Republicans lost in 2006 through their fond embrace of the Religious Right. The approval numbers of both the president and the Congress started to tank right after the Terri Schiavo debacle, and they never bounced back. Face it--in 1994 the GOP had what Grover Norquist called the "Leave Us Alone Coalition" behind them. The latest election results suggest that Republicans have lost them.
For White urban professionals in the North East, West Coast, the "Religious Right" is a big loser. I might argumentatively add because those areas are full of apostates. But the "Religious Right" is not a loser in the South because religious orthodoxy finds its home there. In fact they are an essential part of the coalition. Dan is right. Giuliani will never make it out of the Southern primaries.
Youre probably right when it comes to the South, Red, but the West in general (not just the coast) is a different story. It used to be solidly for the GOP, but 2006 suggests that its now up for grabs. And, apostates or not, these are people who vote.
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