Poll: Giuliani a favorite among N.H. Republicans


Tuesday, February 6th 2007, 9:47 pm
By: News On 6


MANCHESTER, N.H. (AP) _ New Hampshire residents likely to vote in the Republican presidential primary a year from now think more highly of former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani than any of his rivals, a poll released Tuesday shows.

Giuliani's net favorability rating _ the proportion of people viewing him favorably minus the proportion viewing him unfavorably _ was 56 percent, well ahead of Sen. John McCain, 32 percent, and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, 26 percent, in the University of New Hampshire poll for WMUR-TV in Manchester.

``He's the lesser-known candidate, but he has that rock star quality,'' poll director Andy Smith said of Giuliani. ``He has a charisma that was built after 9-11.''

This long before an election, political professionals pay more attention to favorability than voters' choices if they had to vote today. McCain and Giuliani were essentially tied at about 27 percent on that question among likely GOP primary voters, followed by Romney at 13 percent and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich at 9 percent.

The GOP portion of the telephone poll reached 311 likely voters from Thursday to Monday and had an error margin of plus or minus 5.6 percentage points.

Former Sen. John Edwards and Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama had net favorability ratings ranging from 61 percent to 55 percent, too close to be statistically significant.

When asked for whom they would vote, 35 percent of likely Democratic voters picked Clinton, 21 percent Obama and 15 percent Edwards. Eight percent chose former Vice President Al Gore, who is not running.

The Democratic portion of the phone poll reached 353 likely voters and had an error margin of plus or minus 5.2 percentage points.

Independents may vote in either primary, and 68 percent of them indicated they planned to vote in the Democratic primary compared to 32 percent leaning toward the GOP contest.

``This will hurt Republican candidates who try to appeal to more moderate, independent voters,'' Smith said.

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WASHINGTON (AP) _ Democrat John Edwards has joined the growing list of presidential candidates who are skipping public financing of their campaigns.

Edwards' decision, first reported Tuesday in USA Today, applies to both the primary and, if he wins the nomination, the general election. It will allow him to raise and spend unlimited private money.

New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton also is forgoing the public funds, and several other candidates are expected to follow their lead.

Edwards spokesman Jonathan Prince said Edwards supports public financing for presidential campaigns and would require it if elected president. But he is skipping the current system to compete in what is expected to be the most expensive campaign in history.

Strategists from both parties had estimated last year that the 2008 race could cost each nominee $500 million _ far more than the Presidential Election Campaign Fund could afford. It is financed through the $3 checkoff on federal income tax returns.

The fund, which is expected to have about $200 million by the end of 2007, still would help pay for party presidential nominating conventions and assist primary candidates who do not raise large amounts of money.

While both President Bush and Democratic challenger John Kerry rejected public funding for their primary campaigns in 2004, they did accept $74.5 million each for the general election campaign. The funding for the general election was expected to reach $85 million for the major party candidates in 2008.

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CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) _ Republican presidential hopeful Rudy Giuliani will deliver the commencement address at The Citadel in the pivotal primary state of South Carolina, the military college announced Tuesday.

The former New York City mayor was asked to speak to graduates on May 5 ``because of his leadership in the wake of the terrorist attacks on New York in September 2001,'' the school said in a news release.

Giuliani visited South Carolina last weekend, which will hold the first Republican primary in the South.

On Monday, he filed a ``statement of candidacy'' with the Federal Election Commission, which moved him closer to a full-fledged campaign.

Unlike chief GOP rivals Sen. John McCain of Arizona and Mitt Romney of Massachusetts, Giuliani had thus far been ambiguous about whether he would pursue the Republican nomination, even though he had taken the initial steps.

The event is not open to the public. Tickets are distributed to cadets in April, the school said.

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LAS VEGAS (AP) _ Sen. Hillary Clinton has agreed to attend a Nevada forum for Democratic presidential candidates later this month, state party officials said Tuesday.

Clinton joins five other presidential hopefuls already confirmed for the Feb. 21 event in Carson City: Sens. Joe Biden of Delaware and Chris Dodd of Connecticut, former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson and former Alaska Sen. Mike Gravel.

Billed by as a kickoff to Nevada's new early 2008 caucus, the forum faced some resistance from top-tier candidates.

Representatives for Clinton, Sen. Barack Obama and 2004 vice presidential nominee John Edwards complained last week to national party officials about the number and early timing of forums and debates scheduled in Nevada and other key states.

Nevada's caucus was moved to Jan. 19, between Iowa's first-in-the-nation caucus and the New Hampshire primary, as a way for minority and union voters in the West to get a say in picking the Democratic nominee. However, the state has not yet been showered with attention from the candidates.

Nevada Democratic Party spokeswoman Kirsten Searer said some candidates also had expressed concerns about the format of the forum, and the party agreed to accommodate them. Candidates will appear on stage individually, give a statement and answer a series of questions posed by a moderator, Searer said.