After speaking with a number of attendees–and obviously this a an unscientific, limited sample–I think Giuliani did better than I initially thought.
To be sure, several attendees said they couldn’t support him in the primary, and were disappointed that he didn’t speak about the gay marriage issue. But most people I spoke to came away thinking they had more in common with him than they believed coming in. Most importantly for Giuliani, I didn’t speak to anybody who said they’d have to vote for a third party candidate if he were the nominee–descriptions ranged from “political suicide” to a “wasted vote.”
I also got a sense that Romney has proved a good foil for Giuliani. Rudy’s appeal that at least he’s honest, went over well with most of those who I spoke to. Meanwhile, several folks told me that while Romney said all of the right things he was “too smooth” and “too packaged.”
Fred Thompson, meanwhile, didn’t seem to impress. Those I spoke to felt he was “too slow” and “didn’t have fire in the belly.” One man I spoke with said while he thought either Giuliani or Romney could “duke it out with Hillary,” he didn’t think Fred could.
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