NJ GOP Primary Poll, Rudy, Hunter, and Romney

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A friend of mine in Texas directed my attention to this poll over at Polipundit.com.  It is a poll of a couple hundred politically active GOP types in the Garden State, so it has little bearing on what the masses think.  But it does give us a peek at what GOP political geeks in New Jersey think.  Here are the results:

Rudy Giuliani 30%
Newt Gingrich 22%
Duncan Hunter 13%
Sam Brownback 10%
Mitt Romney 10%
Chuck Hagel 5%
Mike Huckabee 3%
Tom Tancredo 3%
Fred Thompson 2% (Write-in Votes)
Ron Paul 2%
James Gilmore 0%
John McCain 0%
John Cox 0%
Tommy Thompson 0%

Rudy wins again, which is nice.  I hope we are all storing up good news like camels, because we’re going to need it like water during a stroll in the Sahara in a few months after Giuliani’s opponents on the left and right start punching him with firefighter radios, Kerik, ex-wives, and estranged children.

More interestingly, though, are the scores for McCain and Romney.  Duncan Hunter– the favored candidate of my Texan friends– comes in third, which makes him second in the list of people who’ve actually declared their candidacy.  Romney is tied for fourth, and McCain puts up a goose egg.

Clearly what the electorate wants, at least amongst the politically aware in New Jersey, is entirely different than what the GOP leadership is serving.  This works in Rudy’s favor, as among the current top tier he is the one who can most plausibly lay claim to outsider status.

This all begs the question of how we ended up with the top tier we have.  McCain, I guess, was always destined to be there because of the popularity of the “Straight Talk Express” with the media in 2000, and he has earned serious consideration through seniority.  But how did we end up with Romney?  The social conservatives like Huckabee and Hunter, the immigration hawks dig Tancredo, the conservatives of a libertarian bent seem to prefer Giuliani and Ron Paul.  Lots of people still have fond memories of Newt.

But who likes Romney?  And why?  How did he ever become a top tier candidate?

UPDATE:  This South Carolina straw poll shows Duncan Hunter showing strongly as well, in a dead heat with McCain and Giuliani for the lead.  What it has in common with the NJ poll is Romney is weak, weak, weak.

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