Rasmussen: Fred! 44, Hillary 43

Now don’t get too excited. As the crosstabs show, that’s not so much Fred-love as Hillary-hate at work. Head to head with Obama he trails by 12 points, which I guess answers the theological question of who would win if the Messiah took on God.

Still, for Hillary to be down a point to a guy who isn’t even the race must be … of concern to her team, I’d imagine. She’s seven and eight points behind McCain and Giuliani, respectively, too. Obama fares better against both of them. Fred, meanwhile, already is ahead of Romney in Iowa, although Ryan Sager says he’s drawing more votes away from another guy who’s not in the race (yet) than from Mitt.

Rudy’s people are confident notwithstanding the revelation that he and the missus have fully five marriages between them. “Strong and growing” reads the Hotline description for his stategy director’s memo, which is nonsense given how unrealistically large his lead is right now. This is interesting, though:

Mayor Giuliani has a wider lead among social conservatives than he does among Republicans in general. Social conservatives already know who Rudy Giuliani is. In fact, more than 70% say they know “some or a lot” about him – these numbers are almost identical or better than other candidates in the race.

“Some” doesn’t mean much given that Rudy’s best known for his hawkishness, not his domestic liberalism. Social cons aren’t going to be thrilled when this headline starts to trickle out, either. Which leaves hizzoner with little choice but to toss them some red meat by coming to Jesus on gun rights:

[A]s a presidential candidate, Mr. Giuliani now talks very differently about guns as he tries to allay the concerns of Republican primary voters. He says he supports the right of individuals to bear arms, and that states — and generally not the federal government — should decide whether to put some limits on that right. He also spoke in favor of a federal appeals court ruling this month that struck down a District of Columbia ordinance barring people from keeping handguns in their homes.

Perhaps most striking, Mr. Giuliani’s campaign says it is not clear that he would support a measure he once championed, an assault weapons ban. In explaining his past positions, he and his aides say they were about fighting crime in New York City when he was mayor, adding that restrictions that make sense there can be wrong for other parts of the country.

Exit question: Is Karol right? Is Fred!’s dream over before it’s begun?