On Wednesday morning, either Rudy Giuliani or John Zogby is going wake up with a big headache. Running fourth in the state on which he has bet his presidential chances, Giuliani is nonetheless sure he's going to prevail in Florida's Tuesday primary.
"We're going to win this election by getting the vote out," Giuliani said at a pizza parlor in Port St. Lucie yesterday. "If we win here, we're going to win the nomination."
Zogby disagrees. "Giuliani is becoming less and less of a factor," he said yesterday, his poll showing John McCain and Mitt Romney tied at 30 percent, Mike Huckabee at 14 and Giuliani at 13, with only 9 percent of voters undecided.
For Zogby, who missed Hillary Clinton's late surge in New Hampshire, another blown call could be professional suicide, so it's safe to assume that his level of confidence in the Florida figures is high.
If he's right, the Giuliani comedy of errors will end this week. After leading in the national polls for a year and raising tons of money, America's Mayor decided to snooze through the early primary states and stake everything on the Sunshine State and its population of New York retirees.
By the time he started campaigning, Giuliani was caked with mud from scandals over his erstwhile partner Bernard Kerik and police protection for his current wife while he was still married to her predecessor.
Meanwhile, McCain, Romney and even Huckabee had picked up momentum, and in the past week, Giuliani lost a couple more points, perhaps as a result of his retired base reading the New York Times endorsement of McCain, sideswiping Rudy thus: "The real Mr. Giuliani, whom many New Yorkers came to know and mistrust, is a narrow, obsessively secretive, vindictive man who saw no need to limit police power...Mr. Giuliani’s arrogance and bad judgment are breathtaking."
If Zogby's figures hold up, Giuliani's best move would be to get out and get behind McCain. For a career prosecutor, Attorney General would not be a shabby consolation prize, if he could weather confirmation hearings about the shadowy clients of Giuliani Partners.