Fred Thompson the frontrunner?

Jonathan Garthwaite
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Posted: Jun 19, 2007 8:36 AM

A new Rasmussen poll shows Fred Thompson with his first nationwide lead.  One statistically insignificant point separates him from Giuliani but he poll also shows some separation beginning between Thompson/Giuliani and Romney/McCain.  It also marks the first time the number respondents not picking one of the top four candidates has dipped below 25%.   Nationwide polling is not the best predictor of success during the primary season but this year - with the front loaded primary schedule - a poll like this takes on a bit more significance.   It's only June but even in June it's better to be Thompson at 28% than McCain at 10%.

Election Polls 2008: Republican Presidential Primary Contenders

Date

Thom.

Giul.

Romn.

McCain

6/19

28%

27%

10%

10%

6/12

24%

24%

11%

11%

6/05

17%

23%

15%

14%

5/29

12%

25%

16%

15%

5/22

14%

26%

15%

18%

5/15

15%

25%

12%

18%

5/08

16%

25%

12%

17%

5/01

14%

30%

11%

14%

4/24

12%

28%

10%

15%

4/17

13%

33%

12%

19%

4/10

14%

27%

12%

16%

4/03

14%

26%

8%

16%

3/27

x

35%

8%

15%

3/20

x

33%

10%

15%

3/13

x

37%

10%

16%

3/06

x

34%

9%

19%

2/27

x

33%

10%

17%

2/20

x

33%

8%

19%

2/14

x

32%

8%

18%

2/06

x

27%

9%

19%

1/29

x

29%

8%

19%

1/23

x

30%

10%

22%

1/18

x

28%

8%

20%

This will be a long hard battle between four strong candidates and making predictions is nothing more that guessing what issues and strategies will resonate in the months to come. Each has their own strengths and weaknesses and a lot will change in the next several months. Can McCain regain the spark he had in 2000? Can Romney break through as the conservative candidate? Will his grassroot organization be able to grind out victories in the first couple of primary states? Will Giuliani continue to benefit from Republicans looking the other way on social issues? Will Thompson continue to be the darling of the conservative blogs? Only time will tell.

A lot of pundits and activists have already picked their horse in the race but I'm in all honesty a long way from that. There are still too many unanswered questions about each of them. That's what debates, speeches, rallies, and policy statements are for. Probably the most significant event that could happen would be for the top four or five candidates with a chance at the nomination to participate in a series of debates. The second and third tier candidates are all decent men with good intentions but at this point they are diluting the discussion between the top candidates. The time for eight-man steel-cage battle royales has passed.