A recent AP-Ipsos poll revealed that 25 percent of Republicans are undecided on which they favor in the forthcoming presidential race.
What’s more, among those that have taken sides, Senator Fred Thompson, who isn’t even officially running yet, is tied for first with Rudy Giuliani.
For the candidates that have been hitting the campaign trail for months now – that’s got to hurt.
Of course, to anybody that’s actually been following the campaign, this shouldn’t be too surprising.
The Republican candidates, all trying hard to separate themselves from the pack, have only succeeded in doing so in a negative way.
Giuliani has frightened the base because, as I heard in a Starbucks recently, he’s “New York Republican.” Throughout his campaign he has expressed views contrary to the evangelical Christian base that is so important to the Republicans. In particular, they are worried because of his pro-choice leanings.
Mitt Romney has even bigger issues.
Being a “New York Republican” is bad, but how about a “Massachusetts Republican?” Until Romney, I never knew such thing existed.
On top of the struggles he is facing because of his religion, Romney has a lot to prove to other Republicans before they are willing to accept him to the fold. Many of former stances, including previous support of gay rights, have some conservatives concerned.
Adding to this, the recent reports of Romney staffers being given fake badges to intimidate the press and to gain entrance to secured areas have cast shadows on his campaign.
This, of course, is nothing compared to John McCain’s staff woes.
Earlier this month he was handed the resignation of his campaign manager and two of his top aids. More losses followed.
Before that, McCain struggled to keep pace with fundraising efforts of other candidates. According to the New York Times, he currently has less money left in the bank than any other serious candidates. At the beginning of July, it was reported only had about $2 million.
These developments, however, were just another in a long series of high profile problems for McCain. His unflinching support of the Iraq war has fueled speculation for months that he was soon to be on the outs.
Out of all this mess, enter Fred Thompson.
He has managed to remain untainted by the controversies surrounding the others and, what’s more, the evangelicals seem to like him. But why is this man who isn’t yet officially running so popular?
The evangelicals like him because, during his entire political career, according to a New York Times report, he voted for every bill to restrict abortion, and every bill to prevent government money from going to such procedures.
Of course, there has been a recent stir that Sen. Thompson spent about 20 hours lobbying for a pro-abortion rights group once, but, in the end, I think, his voting records stands for itself, any critics will find it hard to attack him on it.
The general public, however, likes him because of a little role he played on the show called “The West Wing.”
In a time when many Americans can’t even name the president of the United States (don’t believe me? Watch Jay Leno sometime), even a small role on a television show can assure a candidate that he, at least, is a familiar face.
I can see no other reason why a candidate that isn’t even officially running would score so high in the polls.
But then again, maybe there’s something I don’t see. Maybe, Republicans are hoping for the next Ronald Reagan.
If that’s the case, I’d rather it be Schwarzenegger.
Editorials editor Sean Reed is a junior political science major. His column appears weekly in the summer Collegian edition. Letters and feedback can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org