From Maria Comella's Hizzoner's Highlights, an e-mail update sent to reporters each a.m.
...[T]he latest Washington Post survey showing Rudy Giuliani leading his nearest competitor by 14 points. Oddly enough The Washington Post seems confused by their own poll results or just unwilling to accept the basic fact Republicans do like Rudy Giuliani with headlines like “unsettled GOP race” and “nomination most open in decades.” Let’s see – Mayor Giuiani leads with 33% of the vote, while McCain actually comes in second at 19%, Thompson at 16% and Romney at 11%. If this is what an unsettled race looks like, I can’t wait to see what the numbers are when we’re winning.
The sleight against the Post aside, does Comella have a point?
Clearly, Giuliani has a solid and enduring block of supporters -- the largest plurality of the field.
These Republicans live disproportionately in Florida, California, New York, Illinois, Michigan and Texas. The rest of the Republican field is in flux; Thompson droppped nearly 10 points; McCain's up four; Huckabee's constant at around 9%.
If Giuliani held leads in Iowa, New Hampshire or South Carolina, and if his Florida lead was prohibitive, then, yes, the race would seem to be more settled. But so long as there is a disjuncture between the earliest states and the national polls, flux it is.
Now -- the Giuliani campaign might well respond that the press dismisses their NH-to-SC-to Florida-to Feb. 5 strategy, but, really, until the thing plays out, who the heck knows what's going to happen? No one should buy any strategy until it proves itself a seller.