A couple of days I wrote on the results of the Diageo/Hotline poll. Most people have focused on the Presidential results. BlogPI has written about McCain’s credibility on security with Republicans. I started looking at how GOPers prioritize issues, and thought it had some interesting presidential implications. So here’s the data:

Issue % Issue %
Oppose Iraq 19 Fear 6
Support Iraq 18 Illegal Immigration 6
Terrorism 10 Religious and Family decline 5
Moral Values 7 Healthcare 4

For 47% of self-identified GOPers, national security is the highest priority. Add in "Fear" and you get 53%, a majority. Simply put, that is why Rudy Giuliani and John McCain are the frontrunners. It is not just name ID. Their credibility with voters is precisely on the issues that the GOP electorate most cares about. It will be interesting to see how the other candidates break through this wall.

By coming out against the Surge, Sam Brownback is trying to shoot for that 19% that are opposed to the war. One could imagine that a group of those voters, combined with a good chunk of the 7% moral values and 5% religious/moral/family decline voters, could be a powerful voting block. Furthermore, an anti-surge GOP Presidential nominee will get a lot of free media as the issue moves through Congress.

You can also see how Mitt Romney is trying to put together a coalition. He will try to split the moral values and conservative voters with Brownback. He is the only major candidate (unless you really count Newt) who has expressed opposition to President Bush’s guest working plan, giving him a credible shot with those voters (6%). (although you have to wonder if Tancredo entering will have much of an impact in western Iowa on this issue. To make it more fun, Tancredo even looks like the local congressman, Steve King, who is equally outspoken as Tancredo on almost all these issues). Romney can also talk to a lot of the healthcare crowd (4%), although one wonders how much of that is doctors. I don’t know where they come down on Romney’s healthcare plan. It also highlights why Romney has to get more international credibility through speeche, like he did earlier this week. (one is left to wonder what Romney would have done if George Allen was in the race. Where would he have gone for votes?)

Of course, voters vote based on a lot of things other than issues. But voters are one important way that candidates reach out to voters.