The latest poll of California voters is just in from Survey USA and it might as well be a cancellation notice for Fred Thompson. According to the survey conducted over two days last week, Thompson -- who was virtually tied with Rudy Giuliani in first place last month-- has now slipped more than 20 points behind.
Giuliani now leads the pack in California with 39%, Thompson is at 18%. Back in September, it was a narrow 28-26% race between the two.
"Last summer, Thompson gave a speech before the Orange County Lincoln Club, one of the more powerful GOP organizations in O.C. and everybody was there," Los Angeles-based Republican strategist Allan Hoffenblum tells HuffPolitics. "He bombed and has not been able to recover. There is no there, there and the voters are beginning to realize this."
Nor has Thompson's Hollywood connection been much of any help. Among respondents who said they regularly watched the TV show Law & Order, Giuliani outpolled Thimpson by an even wider margin: 41% to 17%.
Giuliani, on the other hand, has been wowing hard-core conservative audiences in the Golden State while still managing to hold on to more morderate GOP voters, says Hoffenblum. " Why is Rudy doing well? Three words: Hillary, Hillary and Hillary," he says. "The fear of losing the White House to Clinton truly scares many of the top Republican activists within CA and among the top GOP contenders, this has allowed the Giuliani campaign to put together a most diverse group of GOP activists within the state, which includes several hard core conservatives such as L.A. County Supervisor Mike Antonovich as well as the the expected GOP moderates such as Pete Wilson and Dick Riordan. Also, the tanking of the McCain campaign is allowing Giuiani to all but sweep the GOP moderate vote." McCain is running barely above single digits in this latest poll.
Hoffenblum is not currently advising any Republican presidential campaign but has contributed to Giuliani.