I'll be appearing again tomorrow morning at 7:30AM on XM Radio's POTUS 08 channel -- talking about the presidential race. I'm betting the topic of the day will be the fight among the Republican candidates about who's the real conservative.
Hopefully I'll get a chance to talk about the surprising report from Bob Novak that churchgoing protestants and Catholics like Rudy Giuliani -- more than any other candidate:
But the situation is not a simple confrontation between the Christian right and Giuliani. The Gallup data suggest that Dobson and the Salt Lake City group may be out of touch with rank-and-file churchgoers. A well-known social conservative, who asked that his name not be used, is disturbed by Dobson's statement he could not vote for Giuliani under any circumstances. Instead of being considered the lesser of two evils in a possible race against Sen. Hillary Clinton, Giuliani seems to be the positive choice of millions of religious Americans.Just as a point of reference, Georgetown University has found that 63 percent of all Catholics voted in 2004, with 52 percent of those supporting Bush and 47 percent backing Kerry. One has to imagine that the bulk of the 'churchgoing Catholics' voted for Bush.
In an aggregation of 1,690 interviews with Republicans and Republican-leaning independents in four Gallup surveys during August and September, Giuliani led with 27 percent (to Fred Thompson's 24 percent) among those who said they attended church at least once a week. Even more startling was the result of interviews with voters without regard to party preference. Among churchgoing Catholics, Giuliani led with a plus-38 favorable rating (trailed by Sen. John McCain at plus-29, with Clinton bringing up the rear at minus-9).
If Giuliani really has a 38 point net favorable rating among a cohort of Catholics that would tend to be more conservative -- far more conservative than he is -- that would be stunning. Is it because these Catholics tend to be more receptive to Giuliani's message of security and effective government, or is it because they share a cultural touchstone with Rudy? Recall that in 2000, George W. Bush went to great lengths to speak the same language as Roman Catholics; he recognized the importance of embracing the Catholic culture by adopting its language. Is it possible that Rudy already has that -- even as he supports abortion rights, and has favored other liberal positions?
It also suggests a real challenge for Giuliani's primary challengers. How will Romney, Thompson, and McCain break Giuliani's strong lead in this important primary voting bloc?