Giuliani springs a leak in Florida too
DES MOINES -- A new Rasmussen poll shows that Rudy Giuliani's once-comfortable lead in Florida has gone, well, south on him. And he can once again blame Mike Huckabee.
The poll shows that Giuliani, whose 27% in November was enough to give him an 8-point lead over Mitt Romney, has fallen to 19% support. Huckabee now stands at 27% and Romney has gained some ground to 23%. But most significant is that the poll found only half of the Florida voters polled are certain of their vote.
That means the fast-shifting campaign for the Republican nomination is getting even more uncertain. And the scenario indicated by the current polls spells trouble for Giuliani.
A Huckabee win here in Iowa on Jan. 3 and a Romney win in New Hampshire on Jan. 8 would send the campaign to Michigan on Jan. 15, where another recent Rasmussen poll showed a three-way tie among Huckabee, Giuliani and Romney, then on to Nevada on Jan. 19, where the most recent polls have Romney and Giuliani statistically tied.
On the same day, South Carolina Republicans vote and Huckabee is leading there. Nevada, like Iowa, is a caucus state and no one knows what turnout will be like there -- especially since the candidates have been essentially ignoring the state. But Romney's Mormonism could help him, given that the key to winning caucuses is being organized enough to get your people out.
So it's very conceivable that Giuliani could go into Florida 0-for-5, or as much as 2-for-5 if he ekes out Nevada and Michigan. If he loses in Florida as well, or just squeezes through, Giuliani could go into Feb. 5 -- the make-or-break day -- surrounded by question marks. And who knows what that will do to his leads in places like California, Illinois and Pennsylvania -- where the big delegate counts are divvied up and the nomination most likely won.
So next time Giuliani campaigns in Florida, he might want to stop in at the amusement parks around Orlando, where the roller-coaster rides are likely smoother than the one he's on now.
-- Scott Martelle