Polls show that a big part of the vote that John McCain and Mitt Romney are getting in the Republican primaries, to say nothing of the vote that Newt Gingrich could get if he runs, comes from people who are turned off by Giuliani’s social liberalism rather than turned on by any specific attraction to one of the candidates. Now this vote is split four ways among McCain, Romney, Fred Thompson, and Gingrich. If Fred Thompson gets into the race next month, it will drift to him and concentrate in his corner.
McCain is not a good place for social conservatives to hang out because of his support for the immigration bill among other liberal legislation. Romney’s flip, flop, flips on abortion and gay rights make him highly suspect. And Newt isn’t running yet. So if a true believer with no history of flip flops and no offsetting liberal positions on other issues gets into the race, as Fred may, he will pick up a lot of these votes now parked among the other candidates.