JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – In one of the most ominous signals to date of a campaign on the ropes, Republican presidential hopeful Rudolph W. Giuliani saw a one-time commanding lead in his home state of New York vanish in the face of a resurgent Sen. John McCain, according to two polls released Monday.
Combined with the news that his support in neighboring states New Jersey and Connecticut is also eroding, the New York polls throw further doubt on Giuliani’s strategy of gambling it all on a win in Florida.
“If these numbers are truly reflective of the electorate, then Rudy’s dead,” said Doug Muzzio, professor of public affairs at Baruch College in Manhattan. He blamed the slippage on the fact that “Rudy has been virtually invisible” nationally while focusing his attention on winning Florida.
The WNBC/Marist Poll in New York shows McCain beating Giuliani 32 to 22 percent, followed by Mitt Romney at 14 percent and Mike Huckabee at 11 percent, with Fred Thompson trailing at 4 percent. Fifteen percent of 401 Republicans polled last week were undecided. The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 5 percent.
A second poll, by Siena College Research Institute, found the former New York mayor trailing the Arizona senator by 12 points for the New York primary Feb. 5. Siena put Giuliani second, with 24 percent of support among Republicans, behind McCain’s 36 percent. Romney had 10 percent, Huckabee 7 percent and Thompson 6 percent. That poll has a margin of error of 7.4 percent.