Rudy Would Benefit From McCain Collapse

With John McCain's "straight talk express" off the tracks and headed over a cliff, questions have surfaced about who most would benefit by a McCain collapse.

According to this new Hotline poll, Rudy would come out the big winner if McCain dropped out of the race:

The Diageo/Hotline poll out today shows a big lead for that generic Democrat running for president, up 51% to 27% over the generic Republican. But the big news here is John McCain. If the Senator from Arizona drops his White House bid, the poll shows a huge proportion of his voters will flock to former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani.

The Democratic race continues to solidify as a two-way race, as Clinton and Obama both picked up significant support. Meanwhile, Fred Thompson gains double-digit support from May, putting him in a statistical tie with front-running Giuliani.
The numbers are interesting in that particular scenario:
Giuliani 20 (-6)
F. Thompson 19 (+10)
McCain 17 (nc)
Romney 8 (nc)
Brownback 4 (+2)

Republicans (No McCain)
Giuliani 36
F. Thompson 21
Romney 11
T. Thompson 6
Brownback 5

AT Political Director Richard Baehr weighs in: Rudy could offer McCain secretary of defense in his administration. McCain is a high character guy,and should not be embarrassed with bad defeats in the primaries. What might prevent this- Democratic Governor or Arizona, who would replace McCain in in 2009 if this scenario played out. . .

All this is highly speculative because as you can see from the poll, McCain is far from being out of it. He may be low on cash, but he's still drawing hundreds of people to his town hall events across New Hampshire

The rest of his campaign organization is in shambles. Yesterday, his top ad people resigned. Evidently, they haven't been paid recently and were wondering when and how much they would be. Ethical questions are also swirling around his new campaign manager Rick Davis for some questionable lobbying.

But McCain is the kind of guy that will soldier on until the voters tell him to quit. That may be in New Hampshire next year but more likely, I think it will be South Carolina on February 2. McCain will probably put his remaining resources into that state in hopes of scoring a huge upset and reviviing his campaign in time for "Super Tuesday" on February 5 where almost half the delegates to the convention will be chosen.

It's a long shot to be sure. But at this point, it's all he has.