27 Percent of Republicans Prefer Anti-Abortion Third Party Candidate to Giuliani

This post, written by Steve Benen, originally appeared on The Carpetbagger Report

UPDATE: 27 percent of Republicans would vote for anti-abortion third party candidate instead of Giuliani:
If Rudy Giuliani wins the Republican nomination and a third party campaign is backed by Christian conservative leaders, 27% of Republican voters say they'd vote for the third party option rather than Giuliani. A Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey found that a three-way race with Hillary Clinton would end up with the former First Lady getting 46% of the vote, Giuliani with 30% and the third-party option picking up 14%. In head-to-head match-ups with Clinton, Giuliani is much more competitive.
After attendees to the Council for National Policy's meeting dished about their willingness to abandon the GOP if Rudy Giuliani gets the Republican presidential nomination, there was some talk that the religious right leaders were bluffing. There's simply no way, the theory goes, that these far-right leaders would help elect a Democrat by withholding support from the GOP nominee.

Indeed, Giuliani himself seems to think the threats are irrelevant, in part because he hopes to win over conservative voters, even if he draws opposition from conservative leaders. Asked yesterday if he's concerned about losing the religious right's support, Giuliani said, "I don't worry a lot."

Focus on the Family's James Dobson wrote an op-ed in the NYT today to clarify what happened at the CNP meeting, and what he plans to do next year.
After two hours of deliberation, we voted on a resolution that can be summarized as follows: If neither of the two major political parties nominates an individual who pledges himself or herself to the sanctity of human life, we will join others in voting for a minor-party candidate. Those agreeing with the proposition were invited to stand. The result was almost unanimous.
The other issue discussed at length concerned the advisability of creating a third party if Democrats and Republicans do indeed abandon the sanctity of human life and other traditional family values. Though there was some support for the proposal, no consensus emerged.
Of course, it's worth remembering that Dobson & Co. don't need to "create" a third party that reflects their extremist beliefs -- one already exists. It's called the "Constitution Party," it's ridiculously conservative, it has a spot on the presidential ballot in 41 states, and the party would sooner disband than nominate someone who supports abortion and gay rights. For that matter, a leader of the Constitution Party was present at the Council for National Policy's gathering. It's a match made in ... somewhere unpleasant.

Dobson's message today was fairly straightforward: he and his allies don't care about "electability"; they care about fealty to a far-right agenda. If Giuliani's the nominee, they'll walk.

It is, to be sure, a risky endeavor -- for everyone.
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