What does it mean that Barack Obama is currently the third choice of Iowa Republican voters in the general election -- after Romney and Giuliani but before Thompson and McCain? What does it mean that, as the campaign goes on, abortion apostate Rudy Giuliani is losing strength not among conservative voters, but among Republican-leading independents?
The former, constituting 8% of the GOP electorate, are "more pragmatic and less ideological," worried about gas prices but supportive of government action on economic issues and climate change, and somewhat Midwestern. The latter group are 13% of the party, the "strongest supporters of government intervention to solve social and environmental problems," as well as being "skeptical of the Patriot Act" and of military spending generally, heavily female, and "more likely to be found on the coasts."So here you have a good 21% of 2000 Republican voters with distinctly moderate -- we might even say progressive -- politics. And who, in the current crop of GOP presidential candidates, represents them? McCain has glued himself to Bush on the war. And Giuliani's standing with R-leaning independents has sunk precisely during the time in which he has run away from his previous reputation as a moderate and made a name for himself as one of the most belligerent, partisan candidates in the race.