More than half of
white evangelical Republicans would consider voting for
a conservative third-party candidate should the 2008
presidential race pit Hillary Rodham Clinton against
Rudy Giuliani, a poll said Wednesday.
The finding, in a
survey by the nonpartisan Pew Research Center, was the
latest reading of discontent among one of the GOP's
cornerstone voting blocs. Giuliani, the leading
Republican contender in most national polls, is a
former New York mayor whose views on abortion, gays, and
guns are considered too moderate by many
According to the
poll, 55% of white evangelical Republicans said they
would consider a conservative who ran as a third-party
candidate. Forty-two percent said they would not.
up 34% of GOP and Republican-leaning voters, according
to Pew. They are divided about evenly among Giuliani, Fred
Thompson, and Sen. John McCain of Arizona.
It is unclear
whether a third-party bid would be launched should Giuliani
become the GOP nominee. Several dozen conservative Christian
leaders met privately in September to discuss that
possibility, but top evangelicals said they have
reached no consensus.
dissatisfaction reflects a general GOP discontent.
According to the Pew poll, Republicans are less likely than
Democrats to say that their own party is concerned
about people like themselves, can bring needed change,
or is more honest or ethical.
Overall, 50% of
Americans identified themselves as Democrats or leaning
toward Democrats, compared to 36% who consider themselves
Republicans or GOP leaners, Pew found. That is the
largest gap in almost 20 years of Pew surveys, and a
big change since 2002, when the two parties were even at
senator from New York, leads Democratic contenders in
The poll involved
telephone interviews with 2,007 people conducted from
October 17 to 23. It had a margin of sampling error of plus
or minus 2.5 percentage points. That included 648
Republicans and GOP-leaners, for whom the margin of
sampling error was plus or minus 4.5 points. (AP)