HUMAN EVENTS’ presidential preference poll of American conservatives found that former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson leads the competition for conservative support with 23% of the participants selecting him over the other candidates. Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee tied for second with 19%, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney came in third at 13% and Arizona Sen. John McCain — in what is probably a direct result of his stance on amnesty for illegal aliens — came in dead last at 2.1%.
The poll, conducted by e-mail between October 24-29, was sent to approximately 32,000 HUMAN EVENTS subscribers and other people on our e-mail lists. Those requests garnered 2,013 responses. Respondents were spread across the nation: 21% on the East Coast, the same number in the Midwest, 16% on the West Coast, 15% in the Southeast, 12% in the Southwest and the remainder distributed in other parts of the country.
Among likely Conservative primary voters nationwide, 1,984 answered the question “If a Republican presidential primary were held in your state today, which of the candidates would you vote for?”
HUMAN EVENTS also asked participants to “Rank the following issues (value, healthcare, education, media bias, illegal immigration, taxes, right to life, War in Iraq, size of government, competence in government, and homeland security) with 1 being the most important and 10 least important.”
Of the 977 responses to that question, Illegal Immigration came in as the most important issue for conservatives (as it did in a similar HE poll in May) with 284 votes — indicating where conservatives’ principal problem with Sen. McCain apparently lies.
Competence in government came in as the second most important issue with 170 votes and then Homeland Security with 163. The War in Iraq came in as the fourth most important issue with 147 votes.
HUMAN EVENTS survey participants said that the least important issue among conservatives is healthcare with more than half of the responses (478) ranking it at number 10.
The University of Iowa poll released Monday gives McCain only 6% in the 2008 GOP presidential field placing him in fifth place among his contenders and a New Hampshire Rasmussen poll released Friday places McCain in third with 16%. That same Iowa poll placed Huckabee in third and the New Hampshire poll placed him in fourth, six percentage points behind McCain. Judging by these polling results it would seem that Huckabee – among conservatives — has replaced McCain as a top tier candidate.
Romney holds a comfortable lead among all GOP candidates in both Iowa and New Hampshire polls.
HUMAN EVENTS’ presidential poll is, we believe, the first of its kind: isolating and measuring conservatives’ views of the presidential candidates.
The high numbers achieved by Sen. Fred Thompson may not hold up in states such as Iowa and New Hampshire where both Romney and Giuliani poll well. However, because of its sampling only among conservatives, the HUMAN EVENTS poll may measure potential in the Thompson candidacy more than its current strength. Perhaps Thompson should take this as a sign that his campaign in Iowa and New Hampshire should have kicked off earlier and be much more vigorous. (Thompson’s first and only public appearance in his most recent Iowa tour was a speech just this past Saturday. Thompson told AP reporters “I do things my own way, at my own pace.”)
Conservatives are the most hopeful and skeptical people among the electorate. HUMAN EVENTS will poll them again, closer to the first primary election, to see how the candidates have progressed.