I can tell already that Rudy Giuliani's presidential candidacy is going to be very confusing for the nations pollsters and pundits. To wit:
One in five Republicans said his views [on abortion and civil unions for same-sex couples] would "rule him out as a candidate" they could support. That included one-third of those who attend church every week, an important base of the GOP that makes up a third of party loyalists. Another 25% of Republicans said his views made them less likely to support him, nearly double the proportion who said they made them more likely to support him.
These numbers aren't surprising, but the fatal flaw in the survey is that it only polls Republicans. I think Rudy's strength as a candidate comes from the fact that he'd draw a broad base of support from both parties, since he'd give many Democrats a viable alternative to a candidate they don't like (like Hillary Clinton, for instance). And since so many of these polls are self-fulfilling (people's opinions are driven by the polls they read about every day), I think that more publicity around Rudy's popularity among Democrats will actually increase his popularity among Republicans.
And that's his biggest challenge: winning the Republican nomination. As far as I can recall, Rudy Giuliani is the first candidate in a long time that is going to have more trouble winning his party's nomination than he will have winning the election itself.
posted by Brian at 8:41 AM