Rudy Rising: Does Giuliani Have a Shot In 2012?

May 28, 2011 12:39pm

ABC News’ Michael Falcone (@michaelpfalcone) reports:

Early primary polls. What are they good for? Not much, some might say — at least when it comes to predicting presidential nominees.

Nevertheless, there’s Rudy Giuliani, at the very top of a CNN-Opinion Research Corporation poll released on Friday. The former New York mayor, who is said to be contemplating a presidential bid, edged out former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who plans to officially kick off his campaign next week.

Here’s how Giuliani stacked up among the field of other candidates and potential candidates in the May 24-26 survey.

Rudy Giuliani 16%

Mitt Romney 15%

Sarah Palin 13%

Ron Paul 12%

Herman Cain 10%

Newt Gingrich 8%

Michele Bachmann 7%

Tim Pawlenty 5%

Rick Santorum 2%

Jon Huntsman 1%

Gary Johnson 1%

Buddy Roemer  *

Someone else 3%

None/ No one  5%

No opinion 2%

What does this poll tell us?

“This one tells us that 84 percent of leaned Republicans do not favor Rudy Giuliani for the nomination,” says ABC polling analyst Gary Langer, “that his name recognition still lingers. And that none of the others listed has caught fire.”

As 2012 hopefuls like former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty and former U.S. Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman scoop up more name recognition they’re likely to inch up.

Giuliani’s no stranger to taking top honors in national polls. A Sept. 2007 ABC News-Washington Post poll, for example, put Giuliani in first place among Republicans and Republican-leaning independents in front of former Sen. Fred Thompson and Sen. John McCain. We all know how that turned out.

Still, the fresh numbers for Giuliani this time around come at the end of a week when speculation has been increasing that the former mayor may be thinking more seriously about a run.

Rep. Peter King, R-NY, a confidante of Giuliani’s fueled the rumors, telling reporters earlier this week that Giuliani “is very close to saying he's going to run.” King added, “If he were to make the decision today, he would run.”

A close associate of Giuliani tried to tamp that down, telling ABC News, “He is still thinking about it and is even going back to New Hampshire next week, but has still not made up his mind and no deadline to do so yet.”

And Giuliani is, indeed, headed back to the Granite State next week — it will be his second trip in less than a month. He will headline a New Hampshire Republican Party fundraiser in Dover on Thursday, June 2 — the exact same day that Romney will be in the state to officially announce his presidential run.

The next day Giuliani plans to  have a private dinner with Manchester-area business people. In the most recent CNN-WMUR poll of New Hampshire Republican voters, Giuliani was in the top five.

But here’s another word of caution from ABC’s Jake Tapper: “There's a bit of lore that in 2008 Rudy spent $59 million on one delegate. But that's not true. Rudy won one delegate in Nevada. But GOP delegates in Nevada are not elected on a binding basis. And according to the chair of the Nevada GOP, that delegate voted for John McCain. So Rudy spent $59 million on no delegates.”

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