6:21 PM, Oct 2, 2007 • By MATTHEW CONTINETTI
You can read the Giuliani campaign's "Fourth Quarter Kickoff Strategy Memo" here. It's more restrained and sensible than the maps Giuliani aides have been passing around inside the campaign that you can read about here and here.
In the memo, Giuliani strategy director Brent Seaborn mentions this recent Pew survey in which hizzoner held double-digit leads over his opponents in attribute categories such as "smart," "tough," and "energetic." Among Giuliani advisers to whom I have spoken, there is the strong opinion that Giuliani's "attribute advantage" is real and will play an important role in voters' decisions in January and beyond.
There are a few things to say about all this. The first is that the Pew poll was of Republicans and Republican-leaners, which is a different group than likely Republican primary voters. The second is that Giuliani's attribute advantage in the "tough" and "smart" categories is in the low-double digits: He holds a 13 point advantage over John McCain in the "tough" category and a 12 point advantage over Fred Thompson and McCain in the "smart" category. In the "energetic" category, however, Giuliani leads second-place Romney by a whopping 34 points.
It's October. Those numbers will change. Which means Giuliani's leads are either on the floor or have reached a celing. Now, the Giuliani campaign has done no television advertising highlighting the candidate's accomplishments and vision. That lends support to the idea that his numbers are on the floor. But this candidate apparently is also one of the four or five best-known Americans in the world. That lends support to the idea that those numbers have reached, or are near, the ceiling.
So which is the case? Don't ask me! In his memo, Brent Seaborn writes that "by November, we will likely see which candidate pulls away from the rest of the second-tier and becomes the Mayor's primary opposition." I would change that to read, "by December, we will likely see whether the Mayor's frontrunner status is for real, or has been an illusion based on his fame and his out-sized, appealing, telegenic personality."