Unexpectedly Intriguing!
August 24, 2005

Patrick Ruffini has been taking a straw poll to sort the wheat from the chaff of potential 2008 GOP Presidential contenders, which has put former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Virginia Senator George Allen at the head of the pack of all-but declared contenders and Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice as the main fantasy league pick. But, that's not the real news!

The real news would be that for the first time that I can remember, dynamic tables have been used in a blog not named Political Calculations to provide the reader with control over how the data is ranked! Patrick has used the data to provide insight into where each candidate performed the best or the worst, which has uncovered some surprises.

For example, Senator John McCain, who we are constantly reminded is *the* leading GOP candidate by the mainstream media, scored poorly in his home state of Arizona, being outpolled by Rudy Giuliani, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney. Likewise, Senator Chuck Hagel, also performed very poorly in his home state of Nebraska.

By contrast, Senator George Allen easily commanded the lead of his home state of Virginia, where he has previously served at the governor. Likewise, Senator Sam Brownback also commanded a strong lead in his home state of Kansas, and Senator Bill Frist performed strongest in his home state of Tennessee, coming in second to Giuliani.

What does this all mean? At the very least, it indicates that both Senators McCain and Hagel have a surprising level of weakness among the people who participated in the straw poll in their home states. This weakness does not bode well for their presidential aspirations, since it indicates that the people who know them best, their consituents, who are motivated enough to participate in a political poll years ahead of the next presidential election, do not find them to be worthy of serious consideration.

Will it stop them? That's more a question of ego than of reason, and when U.S. Senators have mainstream media fawning over their every statement, I think we all know what the answer to that question might be.

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