Rudy Giuliani's great gamble was to adopt what has been called his 'late state strategy'. The former New York Mayor decided to skip the early states of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina and pin everything on winning Florida at the end of the month. He currently leads in Florida by an average 4%. Giuliani told reporters on Friday that "Florida is real important to us so we're gonna put, if not everything into Florida, almost everything." Rudy's latest ad - showing in Florida - urges Republicans to ignore the pundits and vote for the leadership that only he can provide:
Florida votes one week before 'Super-Duper or Tusunami Tuesday', the day when the delegate-rich states of California, New York and others vote. Some think the strategy could still work - particularly if the field is still divided by the time Floridians vote. Huckabee won Iowa, McCain New Hampshire and Romney is currently leading in Michigan.
The problem for Rudy is that national opinion amongst Republican voters is turning against him. After leading national polls throughout 2007 he's now fallen to 16% in the RealClearPolitics poll of polls. That's more than 9% behind McCain and nearly 6% behind Huckabee.
In an article for The Weekly Standard, Matthew Continetti lists some suggested reasons why Rudy2008 has hit problems:
- Too many references to New York and 9/11 with no clear agenda for the future.
- The rise of the Obama phenomenon - a phenomenon that Rudy is less equipped to overcome. Support for the Rudy candidacy was partly based on the belief that he was well-placed to defeat Hillary Clinton.
- "The indictment of former New York City police commissioner and Giuliani protégé Bernard Kerik on corruption charges, and a report in the Politico that the mayor's office may have paid improperly for trips Giuliani took to visit then-girlfriend Judith Nathan in the Hamptons."
- Already holding positions on guns and abortion that upset many traditional conservatives he has adopted what he hoped would be compensatory hardline positions on security and economics but these positions have risked upsetting moderates.
Although the landscape looks increasingly difficult for Giuliani, this has been a race with so many twists and turns and with so much punditry repudiated, that it would be very unwise to write off him off. A win in Florida - however narrow - would give Giuliani all the momentum he needs for likely victories in his home state of New York and socially liberal California. Between them Florida, New York and California would put Giuliani into the strongest of positions.