Remember how Rudy Giuliani was poised to weather a string of early-state losses, confident that he'd come back big when the Republican race finally hit Florida? That's suddenly looking like a long time ago.
A new Quinnipiac University poll of Republicans likely to vote in the Jan. 29 Florida primary has Giuliani falling into what amounts to a four-way tie. John McCain is at 22 percent and Giuliani is at 20 percent, followed by Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee at 19 points each. In a Quinnipiac poll taken in mid-December, Giuliani led the pack at 28 percent, with his closest competitor -- Huckabee -- seven points back. John McCain was way down at 13 percent in Florida then.
"Giuliani is showing the negative effects of poor finishes in Iowa and New Hampshire, while McCain's jump is not unexpected given his New Hampshire victory," Peter Brown, the assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, says in a press release. Brown predicts that "what happens in the coming days in the Michigan and South Carolina primaries will likely have major effect" on which of the four leading Republican candidates wins in Florida.
The national picture? A new Washington Post/ABC News poll has Giuliani in fourth, trailing the surging McCain as well as Huckabee and Romney. And in a new New York Times/CBS News poll, Giuliani has dropped in a month from first place to third -- fourth if you count "undecided" as a candidate.