Thursday, January 17, 2008

Big News Here in Jersey

Rudy Giuliani's strategy has been to lie in wait until Florida, where he has tried to build a firewall, and then take a huge number of delegates on Super Tuesday when New Jersey, Connecticut, and New York all go to the polls. Not only do those three states (all logically Giuliani strongholds) make up about 15% of the delegates on Super Tuesday, but they are all winner-takes-all primaries. A decent showing in the remaining Super Tuesday states (most of which are not winner-takes-all) would leave Giuliani in good shape at the end of the day.

New Jersey in particular played a key role in this strategy, as one of Giuliani's biggest bundlers (who essentially controlled the NJ GOP primary rules) forced through a change in the state's delegate allocation from a proportional allocation to winner-takes-all. The general perception was that in so doing, New Jersey would be removed from play under the theory that Giuliani could get a plurality of the vote in the state without raising a finger. In so doing, it was believed that Giuliani was guaranteeing himself a minimum of 15% of the Super Tuesday delegates without having to spend much, if any, resources - thus freeing up precious resources for other states.

Well, it seems that (apparent) strategy may backfire tremendously on Giuliani. According to the latest Rasmussen poll, John McCain is now beating Giuliani in the state of New Jersey. Of course this is well within the margin of error, but it emphasizes just how badly Giuliani has suffered from the lack of positive headlines in the early states. It's hard to see how he can stay in this race if he doesn't come back and win Florida. Indeed, things have gotten to the point where his biggest supporters think that he could lose his home state of New York should he fail to come back in Florida.

(via memeorandum)