GOP Poll Talk: Thompson in the Lead…or not

The trend is clear. Fred Thompson has all of the momentum in the GOP race.

There’s change at the top in the race for the Republican Presidential nomination.
The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds former Tennessee Senator Fred Thompson earning support from 28% of Likely Republican Primary Voters. Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani attracts support from 27%. While Thompson’s one-point edge is statistically insignificant, it is the first time all year that anybody but Giuliani has been on top in Rasmussen Reports polling. A week ago, Thompson and Giuliani were tied at 24%.

It remains an open question as to how Thompson will hold up once he actually enters the campaign and has to compete directly with other candidates. To date, he retains the allure of the new kid in town while GOP voters already know the things they don’t like about the others. Still, Thompson’s rise to the top provides a telling measure of how the other GOP hopefuls have failed to capture the imagination of the party they hope to lead.

It looks like Thompson was helped by Rasmussen not polling on Newt Gingrich (who had garnered 7% last time).
Or maybe the trend isn’t clear:

On the Republican side, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani has managed to hang on to his first-place position through most of 2007, but has a somewhat weaker level of support today than earlier this year. His current 28% of the vote is at the bottom of the support range seen for him since January….A stiff battle for second place in the Republican race is now underway between veteran candidate Sen. John McCain and newcomer Fred Thompson, the former senator who only recently formed an exploratory committee to start raising funds and who has yet to formally announce his candidacy. Support for Thompson has nearly doubled since Gallup’s last poll, from 11% in early June to 19% today. McCain is now at 18%.
On the Republican side, Gallup asked Republicans and independents who lean Republican to name their preference if the choice for the Republican presidential nomination narrows down to Giuliani and Fred Thompson — the first Giuliani-Thompson face-off Gallup has measured. A slight majority of Republicans (53%) pick Giuliani while 41% choose Thompson. This 12-point lead for Giuliani is slightly greater than the nine-point lead he has among the full field.

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