Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani remains on top in the race for the GOP nomination and now enjoys support from 30% of Likely Voters. That's more than twice the total of any other candidate. Former Tennessee Senator Fred Thompson and Arizona Senator John McCain are tied for second at 14%.
Thompson has been in the 12% to 14% range for each of the five surveys since his name was floated as a possible candidate.
McCain, once considered the dominant frontrunner, has struggled in recent months. His support among Likely GOP Primary voters has fallen eight percentage points since January. His numbers now are strongest among independents likely to vote in a Republican Primary. In Election 2000, McCain did best in open primaries that allowed independents to vote. Then Governor Bush did best in Primary states where only Republicans could vote.
Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney remains the only other candidate in double digits. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich remains in fifth place with 8% support.
Giuliani is the most popular candidate in either party--62% now have a favorable opinion of him. McCain's favorability ratings among all voters have also fallen to the lowest level yet measured--49%. Thompson and Romney are less well known, viewed favorably by 35% and 32% respectively. See updated favorability ratings and general election match-ups for all Republican and Democratic candidates.
Among all voters, 44% now see John McCain as politically conservative. That's a significant increase from 26% in December. What's truly unusual about perceptions of the Arizona Senator is how consistent they are across party lines. Forty-four percent (44%) of Republicans view him as politically conservative. That view is shared by 45% of Democrats and 43% of those not affiliated with either major party.
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