Rudy makes his case to conservative values voters

Rudy Giuliani delivered a much-anticipated speech to the Family Research Council’s Values Voter Summit this morning. I didn’t see it, but here is Byron York’s account. Byron thinks Rudy did well, not to the point of winning converts to his drive for the nomination but perhaps for the purpose of limiting defections among social conservatives in the general election, if he gets that far.
The latter purpose is the crucial one. Giuliani can win the nomination without the support of religious conservatives and others to whom the abortion issue is paramount, so long as these Repubicans don’t unite behind a single alternative to Rudy. However, it’s difficult to see how he defeats Hillary Clinton if the defection rate among these folks is appreciably higher than it’s been for the Republican candidate in the past several presidential elections.
The news has not been good for Giuliani on this front. For example, in a new CBS News Poll only 29 percent of white evangelical voters said they could vote for a candidate that disagrees with them on abortion and same-sex marriage. In a seemingly inconsistent take, 61 percent of white evangelicals said they would at least consider voting for Giuliani if he were the Republican nominee in 2008. Yet this isn’t particularly good news for Giuliani either; Republicans rely on more substantial support than that from white evangelicals. For example, Presdent Bush received 78 percent of the white evangelical vote in 2004.
Moreover, of the 39 percent who couldn’t say that would consider voting for Rudy, 17 percent went so far as to state there is no way they would vote for him. Some of these evangelicals presumably are Democrats (16 percent of the evangelicals in the poll are registered Dems, and 7 percent describe themselves as liberals).
Even so, these numbers suggest that Giuliani has little margin for error when it comes to white, non-liberal evangelicals. So it’s good to hear that Giuliani apparently did not stray outside that margin in his speech today.
UPDATE: N.Z. Bear goes further than Byron, stating that Giuliani hit it out of the park.

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