A survey by the conservative weekly Human Events, participated in by over 2,000 subscribers and other people on its e-mail lists, showed they narrowly preferred former Sen. Fred Thompson for the Republican presidential nomination.
Thompson had 25 percent, followed by former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani at 20 percent, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee with 19 percent and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney at 13 percent. Outcomes for other candidates were Reps. Ron Paul and Duncan Hunter, 8 percent each; Rep. Tom Tancredo, 5 percent; and Sen. John McCain, dead last at 2 percent.
McCain's low standing could be attributed to his position on illegal immigration, which was voted the most important issue raised by Human Events. Health came in last among the listed issues.
Liberal Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine broke a solid Republican front on the Senate Finance Committee asking Democratic Chairman Max Baucus for committee consideration of a no-increase tax package.
Snowe did not sign the letter Wednesday calling for relief from expansion of the individual Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) without offsetting increases in tax revenue. "We are willing to work with you," the Republicans told Baucus, "to pass tax relief, including relief for the AMT, that does not include tax increases."
Sen. Chuck Grassley, ranking Republican on the Finance Committee and a maverick on tax issues recently, led off the party letter. Signers included moderate Sen. Gordon Smith, who faces a serious challenge for re-election in Oregon next year.