It could all come down to electability, not social purity.
Rudy Giuliani, whose positions on abortion and homosexuality mark him as the most socially liberal Republican presidential candidate in more than a generation, is so far winning the contest for the support of social conservatives, according to a new analysis of recent polls.
Forty-four percent of social conservatives in the Pew analysis believe that the former New York mayor has the “best chance” of becoming president in 2008. Less than half that figure, 19 percent, regard Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) as the most viable, despite twice as many social conservatives stating that McCain ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œcomes closestÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚? to their view on abortion. All other Republican candidates lagged far behind. […]
Giuliani is winning 30 percent of the social conservative bloc, compared to 22 percent for McCain. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney captured just 8 percent ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬? a figure that puts Romney in fourth place, behind former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who is currently not a declared candidate.
And to the “winning is everything” meme…
“A significant number of social conservatives have adopted a pragmatic line,” says John Green, a senior fellow at Pew who compiled the polling. “Pragmatism can be seen on the one hand as a good thing, because it produces results, and on other the hand it can be seen as a bad thing because it involves compromising one’s principles, and that’s just a tension social conservatives have had since the days of Ronald Reagan.”
It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out. Could it split conservatives down the middle? Could we have a socially conservative candidate, ala Pat Robertson circa 1988?
Oh, I love politics….