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October 16, 2007

NASCAR, Churchgoers Pick Giuliani

Two articles today on Rudy Giuliani's unusual appeal to Republican groups. (And then I promise no more Giuliani posts from me today; I realize I've been on a Giuliani blitz lately. It should go without mentioning, but. . .my writing does not necessarily represent the views of Ace or the other cobloggers.)

First, he scored big donations from NASCAR movers and shakers (with my apologies for the shameful metaphor in the first paragraph):

Giuliani scored high-octane contributions from NASCAR giants Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson, the No. 1 and No. 2 drivers in the nation, as well as 14th-ranked Casey Mears. They all poured maximum $2,300 contributions into Giuliani's tank.

In addition, a pack of NASCAR execs turbocharged his campaign with more than $20,000. Among them were NASCAR Chairman Brian France, as well as Rick Hendrick, head of Hendrick Motorsports, one of the circuit's most successful teams.

The unanswered question is whether the political choices of NASCAR superstars translates into votes from "NASCAR dads," a demographic that skews right, but is by no means monolithically Republican.

Second, Bob Novak's most recent article takes on the question of Giuliani's support from churchgoers.

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 saying he could not vote for Giuliani under any conditions. Apart from being the lesser of two evils against Sen. Hillary Clinton, Giuliani seems to be the positive choice of millions of religious Americans.

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 once a week. Even more startling was the result of interviews with adult voters without regard to party preference. Among churchgoing Catholics, Giuliani led with a plus-38 favorable rating (trailed by Sen. John McCain with a plus-29 and Clinton bringing up the rear with a minus-9).

Novak mentions the idea that Giuliani's support is merely owed to name recognition and will disappear as the voters get to know him. That may have been true six months ago, but the legacy media has been slamming Giuliani (and Romney) for their less than conservative positions and right-ward drift. Do Giuliani's opponents really think that churchgoing Republicans are really that ignorant?

The other comforting thing about Novak's article is that it appears James Dobson and his fellow purists are not as large or unified a group as some may fear.

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posted by Gabriel Malor at 12:17 PM

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