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October 31, 2007

Giuliani's going for New Hampshire

Rudy Giuliani has been the top Republican candidate in nation-wide polls for quite some time now. But he hasn't done nearly as well in the early primary states. In Iowa, Michigan, and New Hampshire, Mitt Romney has been in the lead.

That may be changing.

That's why one couldn't help but notice that, after spending Sunday and Monday in the state, Giuliani plans to return today - and then again on Friday. Why? Sources in his camp confirm that he now believes he can win here.

Part of it is a sense that Romney has reached a saturation point, and may just prove too slick to stick in New Hampshire. Although he has spent heavily on television advertising, polls show Romney is not that far ahead of Giuliani, who has yet to take to the tube. And though McCain has stabilized his standing, doubts remain about whether he can really regain enough ground to prevail.

Thus the opportunity Giuliani will seek to seize.

New Hampshire is crucial for Romney. For him, it's practically home territory. He's got to do well; and at this point, "doing well" means taking the top spot. I suspect that even if he stays on top, a strong showing by Giuliani will still spoil his win and cost him in Iowa.

Scot Lehigh (linked above) argues that New Hampshire is a make-or-break state for both Romney and John McCain. He thinks both Giuliani and Fred Thompson can survive losses there. I tend to agree. Giuliani and Thompson are neck-and-neck in South Carolina and Thompson has strong showings throughout much of the South. And, of course, it looks like Giuliani has Florida all sewn up.

The real loss here is for McCain. The latest polls have him at 17% in New Hampshire, that's six points behind Giuliani and thirteen points behind Romney. I was hoping that McCain would drop out before the new year. If he holds on until New Hampshire, that should be the end of him.

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posted by Gabriel Malor at 12:08 PM

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