Just a few days ago, I asked Duane "Generalissimo" Patterson why Romney had such a difficult time progressing in the polls. He seemed mired at 8% support despite having the best organization and fundraising operations in the GOP. Now, however, a new Rasmussen poll shows that Romney may have found some wind for those massive sails as he outpolled John McCain and moved into second place by a razor-thin margin:
The immigration reform debate may be shaking up the race for the Republican Presidential nomination. Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney has inched past Arizona Senator John McCain for second place in the latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone poll. Just two weeks ago, Romney was in fourth place among GOP hopefuls.
Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani (R) remains on top with 25% support. That’s essentially unchanged from last week. In fact, Giuliani has been at 25% or 26% in the polls for four straight weeks.
This week, Giuliani is followed by Romney at 16%, McCain at 15%, and former Tennessee Senator Fred Thompson at 12%. While Romney’s one-point edge over McCain is statistically insignificant, it’s worth noting that McCain had a six-point advantage over Romney just two weeks ago.
This could be fallout from the immigration debate. Despite publicly stating that he would support some form of comprehensive reform that included normalization, Romney wasted no time in attacking this version of reform. That quick decision may have opened eyes among the conservatives in the GOP who have not trusted Romney's recent conversion on other social issues.
That new support appears to come at the expense of McCain and perhaps the second-tier candidates. Rudy's numbers have changed little since the end of April, when he got buffeted by his stumble on abortion. He still has a 9-point lead, now over Romney. McCain drops back three points, and Fred Thompson, who has not yet declared, lost two. Interestingly, it looks like Rudy got no bump for chewing out Ron Paul in the last debate, but didn't lose any ground either.
Romney has a substantial lead in Iowa among likely caucus voters. This latest poll shows that the momentum seems to have shifted nationwide as well. Insiders tell me that Romney's Q2 fundraising numbers will be substantially better than his record-setting Q1 numbers and that they have continued to grow the organization. If all that money keeps flowing into that large campaign structure, Romney will be well positioned to take advantage of that momentum and turn himself into a phenomenon.
Addendum: Don't forget that I will be traveling to Des Moines for tomorrow's Romney campaign through Iowa, capping the day off with a live broadcast tomorrow evening on CQ Radio of Romney's open-forum event at 6 pm CT. Don't miss it!