McCain the Beneficiary of a Celebrity Effect?

Thompson Support Tied to Giuliani Drop in NH

By Hunter Baker Posted in Comments (11) / Email this page » / Leave a comment »

Savvy pollsters are beginning to include Fred Thompson in their surveys with a surprising result peeking out in New Hampshire. Adding Thompson to the mix seems to have hurt Rudy Giuliani. (Numbers are from American Research Group.)

Numbers and thoughts below (plus, don't miss me delivering good news for the Mitt team at the end)

In February, before there was any talk of Thompson, Giuliani and McCain were in a virtual heat with 27% and 26% respectively. Move to March and Giuliani drops to 19% and McCain drops much less dramatically to 23%. Their combined drop is almost a perfect match for Fred Thompson's 10% support. Romney, the person most people think of as losing out to Thompson, actually ticked up a couple of percentage points from 15% to 17%.

Now, in this scenario it seems clear to me that Thompson is gaining support in New Hampshire primarily at the expense of Rudy Giuliani. We political types look at the situation and assume Thompson would take votes from Romney because Romney wants to run as the real conservative and Thompson could probably best him in that claim. If Thompson does gain from Giuliani, then a different dynamic could be at work, one that resonates more with mass culture than with politics.

Why does Thompson (in this single poll in this single state) gain from Giuliani? One possibility is that both men are famous beyond the simple confines of the political world. Post-Sept. 11, Giuliani escaped mere politician status to become an icon. Thompson, of course, is extremely recognizable due to his film/television career in addition to his eight years in the Senate. It may simply be a case of star power detracting from star power.

Another interpretation suggests itself, too, though. We've speculated whether Rudy's numbers would begin to fall if Republicans in key states begin to become very familiar with his policies, particularly his pro-choice bent. I would not be surprised to hear that Giuliani's competition has been taking the time to meet each New Hampshire GOP voter PERSONALLY and tell them all about it. That, alone, could account for Rudy's drop in the NH poll. If that's the case, Thompson may have gained newly disillusioned Rudy supporters simply because he's the new conservative flavor.


You've probably heard it already, but Mitt is predicted to finish the first quarter with a $40 million haul, which is spectacular. The question is, of course, how long he can keep it up without stronger performance in the polls. It would also be interesting to find out how much he has spent relative to the other teams.

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McCain the Beneficiary of a Celebrity Effect? 11 Comments (0 topical, 11 editorial, 0 hidden) Post a comment »

Hotline On Call reports an insider in Romney's camp that says he won't raise more than $20 million in the first quarter, and he'll be behind McCain, whatever McCain's camp ends up with.

Thompson will need to show he can run with McCain and Giuliani in the early states. Otherwise he is just one more candidate in the second tier-cementing a two man race. By the end of April, I think the polls will have a good measure of this.

If he is moving up, I agree that it would have to hurt Romney's capacity to raise money. Thompson makes it harder for Romney to achieve a breakthrough, and contributors won't keep writing checks if Romney does not show progress. That said, he already has raised enough to stay in the race through New Hampshire. There's no reason in the world for Romney to withdraw, including his failure to move up in the polls.

Thompson also will have to show signs of putting an organization together in Iowa and New Hampshire. He also needs a breakthrough in the early states because the slew of early primaries after New Hampshire are unfavorable unless the candidate already is at or near the front of the pack.

The biggest thing Giuliani and perhaps McCain have going for them is the Primary Wave following New Hampshire. If Rudy does respectably in Iowa and New Hampshire (solid seconds) and he wins Florida, he will be very tough to beat. If he wins either Iowa or New Hampshire, I have trouble seeing how anyone else can win the nomination.

The people predicting 40 Million for Mitt are McCain people. It's called a set up. He won't raise more than 15-20 million.

Romney is moving up in the polls. Why the framming of him raising tons of money with out movement in the polls? He is raising good money and seeing movement in the polls. Any movement in the polls can be directly tied to people being convinced by him since he has been fully vetted and Thompson certainly hasn't.


My guess is that Romney really is going to have the blow-out first quarter and that his team is broadcasting much weaker in order to have a big story about how much they've raised relative to expectations.

On the other hand, you are quite right that the McCain team is out in front saying Mitt will blow everyone out money-wise. But consider it from a PR perspective. The McCain approach is to go ahead and get the bad news out there. "He's out-raising us, right now." The Mitt team is trying to hold onto the news for maximum effect. "No, we're coming in a solid third!"

Wait and see. Romney will have his big Q1. If not, you're right the McCain people will lose some credibility and the Romney people will gain some.

Just posted on it here. No spin, just the math.

Either my apology or yours will be forthcoming when the numbers are released. I say $40 mill. You say $20 mill. We'll see who's closer to the right side of $30 mill.

So it'll be a win-win, which is what the Romney camp wants at this point. Besides, I read your analysis and you seem to assume the only way to get money is by having people attend a fund-raiser. There are other ways that require no such thing.

1) I've heard Mitt is personally worth around $500M, true/false?

2) How much does Rudy have in his war chest?

3) Will these numbers really mean anything, or will it be the summer reporting that is more indicative?

4) Read this post from Matt Lewis about McCain on the trail.

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