According to an internal campaign memo needlessly marked confidential and distributed to New Hampshire staff today, John McCain is poised for a precipitous rise in the polls and has with a month to go, hit his stride in the Granite State. "He's BAAAACk," writes Mike Dennehy, McCain's national political director and de-facto New Hampshire campaign runner.
Dennehy finds good news in the cross-tabs of a recent Fox News/Opinion Dynamics poll, including the fact that "McCain is the second choice of 45% of Romney Voters."
Though McCain is seen by New Hampshire Republicans as able to mount less of a challenge to Hillary Clinton than Rudy Giuliani or Mitt Romney, Dennehy argues that McCain is best able to keep the "Reagan conservative" coalition together.
And he asserts that Giuliani faces a national electability problem: "Rudy Giuliani puts states that are normally reliable electoral votes such as Virginia at risk – a state that John McCain leads significantly."
Interestingly, Dennehy warns his staff to expect "vicious, negative" advertising from Mitt Romney:
Because Romney can’t afford to lose New Hampshire, we expect he will stop at nothing to win. And that unfortunately is likely to include some vicious, negative television advertising. We know that New Hampshire voters reject negative campaigning and will see through this desperate attempt, but we need to prepared for these attacks and expose them when they hit.
Read the full memo after the jump.
TO: NEW HAMPSHIRE LEADERSHIP
FROM: MIKE DENNEHY
NATIONAL POLITICAL DIRECTOR
DATE: DECEMBER 2, 2007
RE: McCAIN IS BAAAAAAACK!!!!!!
As John McCain wrote when filing his papers with the Secretary of State in New Hampshire last month – “I’m Baaaaack”! That prophetic statement has never been truer than today.
Three very significant developments have happened recently in New Hampshire that I wanted to bring to your attention. Senator McCain recently earned the endorsement of the New Hampshire Union Leader, a recent poll was released by Fox News showing McCain gaining and Romney losing support, and the energy on the ground in New Hampshire is at the level we saw in 2000. These are all very significant factors and when taken collectively might determinative of the final result of the New Hampshire primary.
Union Leader Endorsement
The New Hampshire Union Leader is the largest and ONLY statewide newspaper and pundits view the paper as the most important endorsement in the state. The Union Leader is conservative through and through. This is probably the single most important event that has happened in the 2008 Presidential campaign – for ANY candidate. The Union Leader endorsement is absolutely essential and is a big victory for John McCain over the other candidates. This endorsement cannot be overstated.
New Hampshire Polling
There have been a number of polls that have been released recently that show Senator McCain’s resurgence in New Hampshire into a strong second to Mitt Romney, slightly ahead of Rudy Giuliani. Fox News released the most recent poll on November 29th.
Fox News Poll of New Hampshire 500 Republican Primary Voters (November 27-29)
Mitt Romney 29%
John McCain 21%
Rudy Giuliani 19%
Mike Huckabee 7%***C O N F I D E N T I A L***
Ron Paul 4%
Fred Thompson 4%
There are some very important clues in the cross tabs for this poll:
• McCain is the second choice of 45% of Romney Voters
Mitt Romney’s artificial lead in Iowa evaporated as other candidates began working the state and the same thing is now happening in New Hampshire. Over the summer Mitt Romney was the only game in town in terms of paid advertising and direct mail. In fact, reports indicate he has spent nearly $5 MILLION DOLLARS on advertising trying to win over New Hampshire voters. Now that other campaigns are spending money and the voters are finally engaged, the race will tighten and Romney will lose some level of support.
• War in Iraq/Homeland Security Top Issue of GOP Primary Voters
National security issues continue to outweigh domestic issues and that plays to Senator McCain’s strengths.
• Only 7% Currently believe McCain has the best chance to beat Hillary
McCain’s weakest point in the poll is actually one of his greatest strengths. Senator McCain is the only candidate who can keep together the Reagan coalition of conservative Republicans, independents, and conservative democrats that has proven successful in important swing states for decades. The recent Rasmussen survey showed that Senator McCain leads Senator Clinton by two points whereas Rudy Giuliani trails her by six in national polling. Survey USA swing-state polls clearly show that while Rudy Giuliani performs well in more liberal states that are not winnable by a Republican such as New York and California, Senator McCain tends to do much better than Giuliani in important swing states that decide the general election. Senator McCain is the only candidate who leads in important swing states such as Ohio and Iowa and performs better than Giuliani in almost every other swing state polled. Furthermore, Rudy Giuliani puts states that are normally reliable electoral votes such as Virginia at risk – a state that John McCain leads significantly. For more information please visit johnmccain.com/electability.
Over the next few weeks, we are confident the voters of New Hampshire will be convinced that Senator McCain is the strongest potential nominee and as a result his numbers will rise considerably. Senator McCain is in an excellent position to turn his strongest negative into his biggest asset very quickly.
• Honest/Trustworthy is Most Important Characteristic
McCain dominates among voters who are looking for someone who is most honest/trustworthy, which happens to be the most important characteristic. This is going to become more and more important as voters realize that Mitt Romney has essentially changed his position on every major issue and is willing to say and do anything to get elected. This is an excellent position for John McCain relative to Mitt Romney – particularly once Romney goes negative which he already has in Iowa and South Carolina.
New Hampshire Energy Reborn
The talk of the town across New Hampshire is that John McCain is back! The energy level is the highest we have seen since 2000 and the phones are ringing off the hook at the office with people wanting to volunteer and be a part of the New Hampshire victory campaign. John McCain feels the energy, campaign staff feels the energy, supporters feel the energy, and yes, even the press has begun to report on Senator McCain’s energy in New Hampshire. The genie is back in the bottle.
New Hampshire voters love John McCain and as they become more and more confident that he is the same, strong candidate he was in 2000, who will once and for all reform Washington DC, he will continue to rise in the polls.
BE ON ALERT FOR GUTTER POLITICS TO BEGIN
As many of you have already seen, Mitt Romney has been attacking Rudy Giuliani and Mike Huckabee as his lead in Iowa evaporates. With John McCain’s numbers rising in New Hampshire, and with the coveted Union Leader endorsement hitting people’s newspaper tubes today, we have to be ready for Romney to aim his limitless pocketbook our way. Because Romney can’t afford to lose New Hampshire, we expect he will stop at nothing to win. And that unfortunately is likely to include some vicious, negative television advertising. We know that New Hampshire voters reject negative campaigning and will see through this desperate attempt, but we need to prepared for these attacks and expose them when they hit.
Senator McCain is back and is in position to win the New Hampshire primary against a terminally flawed Mitt Romney and a problematic Giuliani candidacy. As voters continue to learn that the McCain resurgence is real and that he is the best candidate to defeat Hillary Clinton he will continue to surge because he has character, integrity, and the trust of the people of New Hampshire AND the country! John McCain is baaack and is on track to win New Hampshire. Thank you again for all you do, and have done for John. As he often says and reminds me, he will be eternally grateful for your efforts.
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