John McCain and Mitt Romney Lead in Florida GOP Polls, Giuliani Dropping

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jan 24, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

John McCain and Mitt Romney Lead in Florida GOP Polls, Giuliani Dropping Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
January 24,

Tallahassee, FL ( — As the Florida Republican presidential primary approaches, polls with less than a week away show that John McCain continues to lead the field. They also show Mitt Romney gaining ground and Rudy Giuliani dropping to third place as the rest of the field benefits from the departure of Fred Thompson.

The average of the last five most recent surveys in the Sunshine State show John McCain and Mitt Romney both with the support of 24.4 percent of Republicans.

Rudy Giuliani has fallen to an average of just 18.6 percent in the most recent polls while Mike Huckabee has the backing of 15.8 percent.

Two of the five recent polls include Fred Thompson in the data, but three surveys from Insider Advantage, Rasmussen and Mason-Dixon do not.

Taken as a group, the three post-Thompson polls show Mitt Romney getting virtually all of the benefit of Thompson’s departure.

In those surveys, all released on late Wednesday or Thursday, he leads with 26.3 percent of the GOP vote compared with 24 percent for McCain, 18.6 percent for Giuliani, to 15.3 percent for Huckabee.

Breaking down some of the polls, Insider Advantage shows McCain faring best in Palm Beach and Jacksonville and worst in Orlando. Romney does best in Jacksonville and the Tampa area but poor elsewhere. Huckabee is strong in the Panhandle and Tampa and especially weak in Jacksonville while Giuliani appears weak across the board.

The Rasmussen poll finds about 36 percent of Florida Republicans could still change their mind, so the race remains fluid. It shows GOP voters saying the economy is the most important while national security, immigration and Iraq have fallen in importance.

Rasmussen shows Romney leading with 35 percent of the vote of self-declared conservatives, Giuliani gets 21 percent and McCain 15 percent. McCain wins among moderates with Giuliani second and Romney third.