The Republicans' moderate indecision
As you watch the afternoon football games today, we thought we'd send you some new numbers to roll around -- fresh Republican polls from the early voting states by Insider Advatnage that show Mitt Romney leading among the traditional first voters in Iowa and New Hampshire, Rudy Giuliani leading in Florida and Michigan, and Fred Thompson leading in South Carolina (for some reason, Nevada wasn't polled).
According to this analysis, part of the context is the waning influence of religious conservatives within the party.
But look deep into the polls and some interesting patterns emerge. In Iowa, 13% of Republicans polled said they had no opinion when asked which candidate they'd support if the election was today. Among religious conservatives, the number held at 13%, too, but among self-described moderates, the undecided number jumped to 31%. In New Hampshire, no opinion drew 10%, religious conservatives were at 8.8% were and it leaped to 21% among moderates. The pattern continued in Florida, Michigan and South Carolina.
So it might not be that the religious conservatives are uncertain. It looks like the moderates are undecided on who best to put up for election November. And despite raising $5 million in the last reporting period, Ron Paul was a nonfactor in the polls, topping out at 6% in New Hampshire -- which with a motto of "Live Free or Die" would seem tailor-made for Paul's libertarian views.
-- Scott Martelle