According to a new Gallup Panel survey, Republicans voters can’t come to a consensus on which Republican presidential candidate would be best prepared and able to handle issues facing the next president. Of the four leading Republican candidates survey responders were choosing from, Rudy Giuliani seemed to come off best, receiving good ratings on the issues of crime, terrorism, race relations, being able to inspire Americans, healing divisions with other countries, the economy, and energy and the environment. The candidate considered best able to handle the duties of being commander-in-chief is John McCain. The other two choices, Fred Thompson and Mitt Romney, were not chosen as the best candidate in any particular area.
Republicans and Republican-leaning Independents were asked to choose which of the four leading candidates for the Republican presidential nomination would be best suited to dealing with each of seventeen major national challenges. Giuliani leads in seven of those categories, however, nine issues show no candidate with a convincing lead. This is in stark contrast to a similar poll conducted with Democrat voters, where Senator Hillary Clinton was chosen as the best candidate to handle almost all of the seventeen issues.
One topic where their is particular divisiveness among Republicans is abortion, and the survey definitely reflects this fact. The pro-choice position advocated by Giuliani is certainly not the traditional Republican stance, and many religious Republicans are prepared to support a third-party candidate if Giuliani becomes the Republican presidential nominee. Romney has received considerable criticism for having previously run as a pro-choice candidate. Thompson used to be lobbyist for a pro-choice interest group, although he is currently pro-life. Even McCain, who is a long-time pro-lifer, is not off the hook on the issue, as the perception of him as a moderate may cause some voters to believe he will take a moderate stance on abortion. All this adds up to poll results wherein which there are more voters that cannot decide who would best handle abortion, than there are voters who support any particular candidate on the issue.
24% of survey participants did not have an opinion as to which candidate would best handle abortion. Thompson received 23% of the vote, followed by Romney at 20%, Giuliani with 19%, and then McCain at 15%.
When it comes to the other major moral values issue — gay marriage– there is also a significant number of Republicans who can’t decide which candidate will best handle the issue. 22% of survey responders are undecided, though Giuliani does manage a lead, scoring 27% of the vote. Thompson receives 22% of the vote, followed by Romney at 18%, and then McCain with just 12%.
On the matter of healthcare Giuliani (24%), Romney (23%), and Thompson (22%), essentially tie. This is also Romney highest score on any issue. On dealing with the Iraq war and handling relations with other countries, Giuliani and McCain are the leaders. Giuliani and Thompson get the nods for being best able to reform the way Washington works. Giuliani also leads on immigration, taxes, and education, but only marginally.
The poll results are not too surprising considering how wide open the race for the Republican presidential nomination has been thus far.
These survey results were collected through telephone interviews with 409 Republicans and Republican-leaning independents, ages 18 and up, and the survey was conducted on September 24-27, 2007. There is a margin of error of 6 percentage points.
Source: “Republicans Divided Over Which Candidate Best on Abortion Issue”, The Gallup Poll