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Op-Ed: Possible Reasons for the Downward Spiral of Rudy Giuliani

By Dave Giza     Jan 13, 2008 in Politics
Former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani has gone from the GOP frontrunner to a second-tier candidate in eight weeks. This article talks about some of the possible reasons for his political freefall.
Rudy Giuliani is in political trouble now. I know that many things can change quickly in politics but his falling in the polls has been remarkable. Just eight short weeks ago, he led the Republican field of presidential hopefuls in national polls and some state polls too.
He has lost Iowa and New Hampshire. His campaign is focusing on the January 29 Florida primary to regain momentum. Giuliani is scaling back resources for Michigan, South Carolina and Nevada. Rudy's campaign isn't broke although some senior staff members are working without pay. He is asked about his campaign strategy of not seriously competing in primaries and caucuses prior to Florida. ''Conceding New Hampshire, he said, ''Maybe we've lulled our opponents into a false sense of confidence now.''
Fred Siegel is the author of a Giuliani biography and an editor at City Journal. He believes that Rudy has become irrelevant due to the facts that Hillary Clinton isn't the frontrunner of the Democratic race anymore and also because of the GOP resurgence of McCain and the rise of Huckabee.
Siegel theorizes that Clinton's status as frontrunner provided a perfect target for Giuliani; he is the perfect candidate to take on the Clinton machine. Pundits believe that she won't automatically receive the nomination now. This hurts Giuliani's campaign because he can't always attack her now and he has to be more cognizant of Obama.
The surge success in Iraq has revived McCain's candidacy and hawks are moving back toward him rather than Giuliani. Mike Huckabee's candidacy has excited social conservatives. If Huckabee weren't in the race, some might have accepted Giuliani because of his hawkish defense views.
However, other reasons are revealed regarding his current downward spiral in the polls. Revelations questioning his character have recently opened up a can of worms for the Giuliani campaign. Former New York City police commissioner Bernard Kerik was recently indicted on corruption charges. A report in the Politico stated that the mayor's office may have improperly paid for trips for Giuliani to see his then-girlfriend Judith Nathan in the Hamptons. Although Kerik's story has faded from the headlines and Giuliani proved that his office wasn't billed improperly for his visits, he still lost Iowa and New Hampshire.
Overall, Giuliani did poorly in Iowa among many groups that were polled. He only won 2 percent of evangelical Christians. He won only 6 percent of non-evangelicals. Other statistics include 1 percent of independents and 4 percent of Republicans. He did win 16 percent of the voters who said they voted for a candidate due to his ''electability.'' However, Mitt Romney gathered 51 percent of those voters.
Giuliani didn't fare much better in New Hampshire. ''According to the New Hampshire exit poll, not only did Giuliani lose the pro-life vote, he also lost the pro-choice vote-a surprising result, since he is the only pro-choice Republican running this cycle.''
He only garnered 6 percent of independents, 9 percent of liberals and 8 percent of voters who considered terrorism as the most important issue facing the nation.
Another possible reason for Giuliani's current slide is that he isn't talking enough about what is occurring now. He usually reverts back to his record as New York City mayor when answering questions about current policy decisions.
His liberal record on guns and immigration hurt him in New Hampshire. His views on economic policy and foreign policy have injured him with moderates and liberals. Now, he is alone unless his campaign strategy works for him in the future states with large delegate counts. His other hope is that McCain, Romney, Huckabee and, to a lesser extent, Thompson, falter.
More about Rudy giuliani, Fred siegel, Florida primary