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Friday, May 04, 2007
Analyst: GOP presidential debate 'won't change the horse race'

Did last night's debate give any candidate a leg up?

NEW YORK (CNN) -- Thursday night's Republican presidential debate "won't change the horse race," said one analyst the day after the event, referring to efforts by less-popular candidates to spring into the top tier.

The front-runners are former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and U.S. Sen. John McCain of Arizona. Eight other men trail them in the polls.

The opinions below were expressed Friday on CNN's "American Morning." Scott Rasmussen, president, Rasmussen Reports, an electronic publishing firm that collects and distributes public opinion polling information.

"Overall, last night was a spring training game for all the political junkies to ... evaluate the talent. It has no impact on the regular season, and I think (Tommy) Thompson is just showing a little bit of why he's in the second tier."

Rasmussen was referring to the former Wisconsin governor's gaff when he basically answered "yes" to a question about whether private companies should be able to fire employees just because they are gay. Friday morning, Thompson said, "I made a mistake. I misinterpreted the question. ... I should have answered it 'no.' ... I didn't hear the question properly and I apologize."

According to Rasmussen: "This debate will not change the horse race. Way too early in the season. Most of the people watching are already involved in the campaign."
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