The latest Rasmussen poll of likely primary voters completed July 31 shows Fred Thompson in front:
In the race for the Republican Presidential nomination, former Tennessee Senator Fred Thompson remains nominally on top with support from 26% of Likely Republican Primary voters. Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani remains essentially even as the top choice for 24%. Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and Arizona Senator John McCain are each preferred by 12% (see daily history).
The significance, here, is not the margin of the lead, but the consistency. Thompson has now led the poll since mid-July, except for a one day tie on 7/25.
Additionally, the poll finds that Thompson is the only candidate who voters consider "conservative." That is huge come the general election. If the Republican party nominates a moderate or liberal, then we might as well for the Democrat and get the real thing.
Numerous races, including Reagan and Norm Coleman, show that the GOP's best hope is to run a conservative who starkly contrasts the Democrat opponent. Head to head, conservatism always wins because it works. Liberalism loses because it fails every time its tried.