What to make of those polls?

Rudy Giuliani continues to hold a decent lead in the Republican preference polls. The RCP average has Giuliani at 32 percent, compared to 20 percent for John McCain, 11 percent for Fred Thompson, and 10 percent for Mitt Romney. A recent poll by the highly respected Rasmussen organization has it 30-14-14-11 among these four.
Yet in the early primary/caucus states the picture looks different. A new set of polls by the American Research Group shows Giuliani trailing McCain by 26-19 in Iowa; trailing McCain and Romney by 29-24-17 in New Hampshire; and traiing McCain 36-23 in South Carolina.
One way these results might be reconciled is by noting that McCain and Romney have been focused forever (or so it seems) on these early states, while Giuliani is a relative newcomer in them. When one also considers that none of the three early states is in Giuliani’s wheelhouse, it stands to reason that his numbers in them don’t match his national figures. And, indeed, ARG’s national numbers have Giuliani leading McCain, though only by a slight margin (27-23)
Oddly, though, ARG has Giuliani slipping in the three early states since he joined the race, though he has not slipped in relation to McCain nationally. Thus, Giuliani’s relatively poor showing in these venues can’t be explained entirely by his late entry.
My take-aways are (1) to the extent I put any stock in polls taken this early, I put it in Rasmussen’s and (2) I don’t put much stock in polls taken this early.
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