When I see polls from states like New York or Connecticut, my first instinct is to dismiss them as completely irrelevant. After all, the deluge of primary polls from late-voting states throughout the fall taught us nothing useful about the state of the campaign. But it’s hard to believe that New York surveys now are crucially important. We are two weeks from Super Tuesday and the dynamics of the race are getting set.
With that, we got a series of polls from states that are coming up in the next two weeks, starting with a stunning Rasmussen poll of Florida:
- Romney is ahead 25% to McCain’s 20%, with Giuliani at 19% and Mike Huckabee at 13%, statistically tied with Thompson’s 12%.
Don’t forget that Florida is a closed primary, the first of any voting state where independents can’t vote. That makes McCain’s path to victory that much more complicated — though it is still surprising to see Romney surging to a lead in the first post-South Carolina/Nevada poll.
A Romney win in Florida would scramble the field yet again a week from Super Tuesday — and looking at the following polls from major February 5th states, it looks like McCain could roll to the nomination if he manages to win Florida, so his rivals better stop him here. A new poll from Connecticut, first was released today from the Univ. of CT:
- Among Republicans, McCain has a massive lead, 39% to 16% for Giuliani. Romney gets 11%, Huckabee 8%.
- Among Democrats, Clinton gets 41%, Obama 27% and Edwards 9%.
Even worse for Rudy Giuliani are these two polls from New York, his home-state:
- A Siena poll has McCain leading Giuliani 36% to 24%, with Romney at 10%.
- Among Dems, Clinton is holding on strong, 48% to 23%.
- Second, Marist released its own poll from NY that has McCain at 34%, ahead of Romney and Giuliani tied at 19%. Huckabee gets 15%. Giuliani is not even leading in New York City.
- Among Dems, Clinton leads 48% to 32%.
Needless to say that these numbers are atrocious for Giuliani. Remember that his campaign’s argument was that Connecticut, New York and New Jersey were momentum-proof states that would give him assured victories — and a delegate lead. For remember that all three are winner-take-all, so even if Rudy loses by one vote he gets no delegate at all. And it looks like a loss in Florida would definitely cause him to fall out at this point. Giuliani’s fate is a clear warning sign to whoever wants to attempt to skip the first 4 voting states in the future. The front-runner in national polls three weeks ago, Giuliani now comes fourth or fifth regularly, having completely fallen out of the picture.
The Siena poll also has some general election numbers for the state of New York — and they show that McCain could actually pick-up the state in the right circumstances:
- Clinton and Obama crush Rudy (56% to 34% and 53% to 35%). Clinton also handily beats McCain (52% to 39%) but McCain manages a statistical tie with Obama (44% to 42%).
That’s right, the Empire State could perhaps be a battleground and McCain’s superior electability conforms most indications we have been getting recently, including yesterday’s SUSA surveys from VA and KS.