Rudy trails on home turf

Former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani is trailing in the race for the Republican presidential nomination even on his home turf of New York state, a new poll showed on Monday.

The WNBC/Marist poll ahead of the February 5 primaries in New York showed 34 percent of registered Republicans support John McCain, compared to 23 percent for Giuliani. Among Republicans likely to vote, McCain kept his 34 percent support, while Giuliani was tied in second place with Mitt Romney at 19 percent.

McCain’s campaign has been boosted by wins in New Hampshire and South Carolina in the state-by-state race to pick the two candidates to contest the November 4 election to succeed President George W. Bush.

Giuliani, whose once large lead in national polls has evaporated, largely bypassed early voting states and focused on Florida, which votes on January 29.

As the former New York mayor who won national recognition in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks, Giuliani would hope for a strong showing in New York.

But the poll showed 46 percent of registered Republicans in New York think Arizona Sen. McCain is the Republican most likely to beat the Democratic candidate in November. Nineteen percent saw former Massachusetts Gov. Romney as the most electable and 15 percent picked Giuliani as most electable.

Another local politician, New York Sen. Hillary Clinton, appeared to be in a strong position ahead of the New York primary for the Democratic Party nomination.

The poll showed her with the support of 48 percent of Democrats likely to vote in the primary, followed by Illinois Sen. Barack Obama with 32 percent.

The survey of 1,467 New York state registered voters was conducted January 15-17, and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percent, the poll said.

Neither party has established a clear front-runner, as the first major state-by-state battles produced multiple winners.

Responding to the New York poll, the Guiliani campaign issued a statement from New York Republican Rep. Peter King saying the former mayor would win in the state. “The people of New York know better than anyone that Rudy is the bold and gutsy leader our country needs right now to tackle the tough challenges,” King said.