I’ve agreed with the CW that McCain and Giuliani are after the same pool of voters, and that McCain crowds Giuliani out. But I’m beginning to wonder. Giuliani had a fair amount of support on our cruise, and it seems he has some real appeal to conservatives based on his rhetoric, persona, and 9/11 performance. It may be that he eats into Romney’s support. If so, Giuliani effectively helps McCain. And if Giuliani doesn’t make it (I think it’s very, very unlikely he will), does anyone doubt that he endorses McCain? So he will help McCain in that more obvious way too.
Here’s Chuck Todd on why Giuliani isn’t just another centrist:
Both Romney and Giuliani sense a chance at beating McCain on the right. The mainstream media mistakenly views Giuliani as another centrist, going after the same portion of the GOP electorate that McCain attracts. That’s just not correct. Giuliani’s strength in Republican polls is with conservatives, or more specifically, with those Republicans who have stayed the most supportive of Bush. The Diageo/Hotline poll showed evidence of this phenomenon last spring.
What’s most fascinating about Giuliani’s popularity with the GOP base is that his liberal stances on social issues like gay rights, abortion and guns, run diametric to the conservative rank and file. The media seem to believe these folks don’t know Giuliani’s stances, but that once they do they’ll reject him. I’m hesitant to assume voters don’t know these things about him; I think they do but are so consumed with fear for national security that they are willing to give him a pass.
Giuliani wins this bloc over on rhetoric. He simply speaks to conservatives in a language that McCain doesn’t. Maybe it’s the “Zig Ziglar” training Giuliani’s gotten, but whatever it is, the motivational aspect of Giuliani’s speeches seem to touch conservatives in a way that McCain’s “Straight Talk Express” doesn’t. (Romney’s pretty good at the upbeat speech as well, but sometimes he can sound a little too much like Tony Robbins.)