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9/11/2007
THE FRED SURGE

What a difference a week makes.

I honestly didn’t expect a large boost for Fred Thompson after he officially declared his candidacy. He had been “on the verge” for so long that I believed most Republicans had already accepted him as a candidate and that any bump he got from announcing would be a blip, barely beyond the statistically significant.

But polls taken in the last 72 hours tell a different story. Apparently, many conservatives who had been flirting with both Romney and Giuliani are taking another look at Thompson, tightening the race nationally while showing a definite “Fred Surge” in one key state.

First, the national numbers. Rasmussen:

The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Monday shows that Fred Thompson is enjoying a bounce from his formal entry into the Presidential race.

In the race for the Republican Presidential Nomination, Thompson is on top for the first time since late July. The former Tennessee Senator is currently the top choice for 26% of Likely Republican Primary Voters. Rudy Giuliani, who has been the frontrunner for most of the year, is close behind with support from 22%. Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney earns the vote from 13% while 12% prefer Arizona Senator John McCain. Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee remains atop the second tier at 6% (see recent daily numbers).

Now that’s what I call a surge.

CBS has Fred moving up as well, narrowing the gap with Giuliani:

After seeing his support among Republican primary voters rise to 38 percent in August, Giuliani was backed by only 27 percent of respondents in the most recent survey, narrowing his lead over Thompson to 5 percentage points after holding a 20-point edge last month.

While Thompson, at 22 percent support, is now a close second to Giuliani, he was not the only Republican to seemingly benefit from Giuliani’s fading numbers. Arizona Sen. John McCain, who was written off by some after months of staff upheaval and disappointing fundraising, saw his support increase 6 points since the last survey to 18 percent. On the other hand, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who won August’s straw poll in Ames, Iowa, saw little benefit nationwide, scoring 14 percent support - largely unchanged since last month.

Gallup gives Fred a smaller bump (19% - 22%) but still significant.

Obviously, Fred is tapping into a conservative base that was unhappy with Romney and especially, Giuliani - for different reasons. Romney’s calculated moves to the right have not sat well with many while Giuliani makes no bones about his differences with many conservatives, although he’s probably conservative enough for most Republicans. Unease with Giuliani’s experience as well as his stands on root Republican issues like abortion and gay marriage have some of the base looking for an alternative.

Romney, still mired in the mid teens nationally, may be getting a little desperate. A poorly disguised political dirty trick directed against Thompson has backfired:

A top adviser to former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney appears to be behind the launch of a new Web site attacking GOP presidential rival Fred D. Thompson during his first week on the trail.

The site, PhoneyFred.org, painted an unflattering picture of Thompson, dubbing the former TV star and senator Fancy Fred, Five O’clock Fred, Flip-Flop Fred, McCain Fred, Moron Fred, Playboy Fred, Pro-Choice Fred, Son-of-a-Fred and Trial Lawyer Fred. Shortly after a Washington Post reporter made inquiries about the site to the Romney campaign, it was taken down.

Before it vanished, the front page of the Web site featured a picture of Thompson depicted in a frilly outfit more befitting a Gilbert and Sullivan production than a presidential candidate.

The Republicans have a long way to go as far as being internet savvy. You can bet if a Democratic candidate set up an attack website, there would be no way to trace it back to the campaign. The Washington Post was able to unmask the fake Fred site in no time.

Meanwhile, in California, the latest Survey USA (GOP) poll has Giuliani edging Thompson 28%-26%. Their last poll in early August had Fred trailing Rudy by 11. The Mother of all Primaries on February 5 next year will include California, Illinois, and New York along with 16 other states - at least (it is still not clear whether Michigan and Florida will toe the party line and push their primaries back to February 5 or later). Fred’s best chance for a big state win on Mega Tuesday will probably be California since Romney’s dad was a governor of Michigan and Rudy looks unbeatable on his home turf of New York. Florida is another possibility for Fred as several of his key advisors have ties to Jeb Bush. Regardless, all of these numbers should give a little momentum to Fred as he wades in to the money morass and attempts to raise funds.

That, of course, is the key; turning these surging numbers into a flood of mother’s milk. With the constraints on his fund raising abilities off, Fred is going to have to raise at least $1.5 million a week between now and the end of the year by my calculations in order for him to be competitive in the early primaries and caucuses. This is more than doable if his operation is finally set and he has the people he wants in key positions. Any confusion at the staff level from here on out will reflect badly on the candidate and this will almost certainly affect his ability to raise money.

What The Fred Surge says about the race is that it is still wide open. You have to wonder if New Gingrich isn’t seeing the reaction to Thompson entering the race and contemplating his own prospects.

At this point, anything and everything is possible.

UPDATE

Steve Smith emails from the Romney campaign with an explanation of the “PhoneyFred.Org” website that the Washington Post charges a top aide to the campaign with involvement:

As reported in the Boston Globe, the site has no direct affiliation to our
campaign, and we had no knowledge of its development.

Once we received inquiries about the site, we discovered it was created by an
individual who parked the site temporarily on the company server space of a
firm whose financial partner is a consultant to the campaign- Mr. Tompkins.
Mr. Tompkins also had absolutely no knowledge about the development of the site
or that it was temporarily parked on the firm’s server.

We informed this party that as a result of that server use, we were receiving
inquires about the site. We made it clear that we did not approve of the site
and asked for immediate action to make sure it was again in no way affiliated
with the campaign.

The person responsible is not an employee of ours, but we took immediate action
to make sure it was clear the site was not affiliated with the campaign.

http://www.boston.com/news/politics/politicalintelligence/2007/09/romney_camp_dis.html

By: Rick Moran at 8:11 am
14 Responses to “THE FRED SURGE”
  1. 1
    Chip Said:
    9:10 am 

    I predict Fred! will be cleaning the floor with the likes of Romney and Giuliani in the next Republican debate, although he will eventually pick the latter as his VP running mate.

  2. 2
    Turk Said:
    9:12 am 

    You can bet if a Democratic candidate set up an attack website, there would be no way to trace it back to the campaign.

    Two and a half words for you. Phil de Vellis.

  3. 3
    Unpartisan.com Political News and Blog Aggregator Trackbacked With:
    9:22 am 

    Thompson’s entry adds intrigue to GOP presidential race…

    DES MOINES, Iowa | Now the race for the Republican presidential nomination begins in earnest. Actor…

  4. 4
    clarice Said:
    9:28 am 

    I’m not at all surprised. Elections are largely about personality and connecting with the public. A recent poll showed that people were exactly wrong about the views of the various Dem candidates on Iraq, proving again the “debates” are a crock–a weasel’s exercise in appealing to the base just enough without offending the middle–which no one in his right mind pays any attention to. Fred understands the art of communicating and will do so outside the box of recent elections –a box which includes not only the debate nonsense above, but raising millions and millions of dollars which are then pissed away on consultants who have them dressing in “earth tones”, weaseling even more, and paying for ads and pushpolls no one responds to any more.

  5. 5
    tHePeOPle Said:
    10:01 am 

    Giuliani can’t win. He uses the same lame fear mongering crap over and over again and he’s been slapped down and exposed so much that people don’t buy into his lies anymore.

    Mitt Romney? If there is one thing I’m sure of, it’s that this country will NEVER elect a mormon as president. Most base evangelicals would rather stay home than cast their vote for a Mormon. Those guys are like Christianities answer to Scientology.

    Fred Thompson? He’s probably got a shot, but not because he’s so great. According to my research, he’d make a crappy president. HOWEVER, his wife is smokin’ hot. That will make a big difference.

    The only guy I’ve seen from the republicans that I’d vote for is probably Ron Paul. He’s the only republican who’s actually a true republican conservative. This is probably why most republicans are scared of his words. Plus, he’s very intelligent and speaks the truth, not to mention he’s a F’ing doctor.

    Most of the republican field are just US-lapel-flag wearing monkeys trying to get elected based on fear alone.

  6. 6
    clarice Said:
    11:05 am 

    Roger L. Simon notices this, too.

    September 10, 2007
    Hillary and the mother’s milk
    I wonder if the fresh-faced Hillary Rodham, Wellesley student, the NYT has been hyping of late had any idea of the ugly muck she would have to wade through for the rest of her life in pursuit of the power and the glory. Money, as the cliche goes, is the mother’s milk of politics. That’s been true all our lives. McCain -Feingold solved nothing. One of things about the Thompson campaign is that he has been doing well without a lot of money (ahead in today’s Rasmussen). If that keeps up, maybe he will prove that you can run without such a ton of cash…. of course, he’s an actor and all but… with the current insatiable media, almost anyone credible gets a huge amount of attention. Maybe the ability to buy endless ads doesn’t amount to so much anymore. People tune them out. I know I do[].”

    http://www.rogerlsimon.com/mt-archives/2007/09/hillary_and_the.php

    Hillary was warned months ago that the Hsu money was funny money but she kept it anyway–despite dirty campaign money being her Achilles’ heel–because she was playing by the old book:Raise the most money, try to win in the early primaries, make it look like your campaign is the invincible juggernaut. With the revolt of the states, Iowa and New Hampshire and the old Juggernaut strategy is also of limited effect.

  7. 7
    JOHN JAMES TERRY Said:
    12:23 pm 

    Do you want to know why RUDY THE GREAT IS TUMBLING???

    1. He’’s a liar. Just ask the families of the 9/11 first responders who gave their lives how they feel about RUDY and his top media man DuHanne claiming for himself and calling RUDY “THE HERO OF 9/11!”

    2. He’’s a cheat, ask his current and ex-wives!

    3. He beleives taxpayers should pay for abortions to support the antics of himself and the head of his “Southern Strategy” and #1 VP choice Sen. David Vitter:

    http://blog.nola.com/times-picayune/2007/09/new_orleans_prostitute_tied_to.html

  8. 8
    Chip Said:
    1:41 pm 

    #5

    So many small-minded stereotypes, so little time.

    Someone who purports to speak for “the people” should probably be spending a lot less time soaking up the effluent from AAR and other “progressive” propaganda mills, of course unless you’re only intending to speak for the small minority of moonbats who’ve been hoodwinked into believing the purveyors of this contemptuous and dreadfully pessimistic perspective on America have your best interests at heart and actually care about speaking the truth.

    Based on the mind-numbingly sophomoric attacks on Thompson’s character which are appearing with increasing frequency in some of the more dank corners of the liberal blogosphere. I truly pity those who derive truth, meaning, purpose and/or self-worth from the shallow and self-aggrandizing “reporting” of such blatantly manipulative and dishonest people.

  9. 9
    Jay Said:
    2:08 pm 

    Actually, Newt is in Fred’s corner. He said he would only run if Fred didn’t.

  10. 10
    arch Said:
    3:38 am 

    Fred Thompson has face recognition. He used it in Tennessee and he will use it again. Half the republican base could not recognize Ron Paul if he were wearing a name tag. They are tired of John McCain and trust neither Romney nor Giuliani.

    Fred Thompson has an image as an adult. He was a lawyer working on Watergate. He was the mayor on TV. He was the Admiral in The Hunt for Red October. You cannot buy that.

    Thompson is tough on terrorism, immigration, crime, has flipped on abortion and supports gun ownership. Most importantly, he is a fiscal conservative. He is the absolute opposite of Hillary Clinton. If he can keep his wife out of his campaign, he will beat Hillary and sweep in with a conservative House.

  11. 11
    ajmontana Said:
    5:31 am 

    I dont know how anyone can make a decision on what they have seen so far. We need more and they better get with it soon, its time to seperate the men from the boys, get serious and show us what ya got.

  12. 12
    Transplanted Lawyer Said:
    6:41 pm 

    As I see it, Thompson’s surge is coming largely at Romney’s expense, not Rudy’s. Giuliani’s numbers have remained stable for the past several weeks despite Thompson’s antics. Right Said Fred is absorbing a lot of the “none of the above” discontent and, by running a campaign that is largely content-free so far, he is trying hard to keep on wearing the mantle of All Things to All Republicans. Some of the commenters above are unabashed in their love for his perceived conservatism; whether that perception will survive the real analysis of the primary election remains to be seen.

  13. 13
    Transplanted Lawyer Said:
    6:42 pm 

    As I see it, Thompson’s surge is coming largely at Romney’s expense, not Rudy’s. Giuliani’s numbers have remained stable for the past several weeks despite Thompson’s antics. Right Said Fred is absorbing a lot of the “none of the above” discontent and, by running a campaign that is largely content-free so far, he is trying hard to keep on wearing the mantle of All Things to All Republicans. Some of the commenters above are unabashed in their love for his perceived conservatism; whether that perception will survive the real analysis of the primary election remains to be seen.

  14. 14
    edward cropper Said:
    9:48 pm 

    There are too many Thompson supporters who are more wishful thinkers than realists.
    They are those voters who are always looking for a messiah and get sucked in by the candidate who plays the best fiddle.
    The myth that there are untold conservatives just waiting in the wings to spring into action on election day for Fred Thompson is just that a myth.
    The large majority of voters are not involved in the political process until the last minute when they walk into the polling booth, close their eyes and stab at the ballot. Usually voting for the lesser of two evils.
    For the masses it will depend on which candidate has accomplished the best snow job and tickled the most itching ear.
    It will have nothing to do with ideology, it will have everything to do with laziness and self concern.

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