Robert Novak finds significance in an aggregation of Gallup poll results regarding the presidential preferences of churchgoing voters. It has Rudy Giuliani leading the way among Republicans and Republican-leaning independents who attend church once a week. Rudy is the favorite of 27 percent of these folks, with Fred Thompson second at 24 percent. Among churchgoing Catholics without regard to party affiliation, Giuliani leads with a plus-38 favorable rating.
These result help explain why Giuliani’s left of center views on social issues and his less than regular church attendance have not prevented him from remaining the frontrunner in the crowded Republican field with roughly 30 percent support. However, they do not mean that Giuliani can dismiss concerns about James Dobson and “the Salt Lake City group” of anti-Giuliani religious conservative leaders on the theory that, as Novak suggest, they are “out of touch with rank-and-file churchgoers.”
The real issue, at least for purposes of the general election, is how many of the 73 percent of regular churchgoing Republicans and Republican “leaners” who don’t support Giuliani would refuse to vote for him even against a Democrat like Hillary Clinton. Even if the answer is as few as one out of ten, Giuliani has a problem.
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