Rudy Giuliani still leads all Republican presidential candidates in California, but his support in the nation’s most populous state has dropped sharply, a new poll reveals.
Results of the Field Poll released Thursday show that the former New York City mayor is the first choice of 25 percent of the GOP voters surveyed – a hefty 10 percent drop from a Field Poll in August.
Three Republican candidates are now in a virtual tie for second – Mitt Romney got 13 percent of the vote in the new poll, while Fred Thompson and John McCain both garnered 12 percent.
The second-tier GOP candidates have made strides since the August poll. Mike Huckabee, Ron Paul, Tom Tancredo and Duncan Hunter collectively received 14 percent of the votes, double the percentage in the earlier poll.
The shifting numbers are “an indication of greater indecision and greater uncertainty” in the GOP race, Mark DiCamillo, director of the Field Poll, told the San Francisco Chronicle.
Giuliani’s slippage indicates “the public really hasn’t been sold on the front-runner, and there’s a little retrenchment,” he added.
“The kinds of claims and arguments being made against Giuliani are dividing the party in some respects.
“The party is more fractured than normal,” and “there’s no single opponent to Giuliani – it’s a cluster.”
Among voters who say they are “moderately conservative” or “moderately liberal,” Giuliani holds a 16 percentage point lead over Thompson, his closest competitor in that category, the Chronicle reports.
But among those who say they are “strongly conservative,” Giuliani’s lead over Romney is only 4 percentage points.
The number of Republican voters who say they are undecided has risen from 15 percent in August to 22 percent in the current poll.
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