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Giuliani's popularity in '08 race alarms religious conservative leaders

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"Of all the candidates, Mayor Giuliani is the most problematic from the standpoint of values-motivated voters," Mr. Bauer said. "There is no question about that."

But Bauer raised the issue of an apparent divide among religious conservatives. "It is important for those of us in Washington who speak for the movement to not get too far ahead of our followers. And ... one of the reasons there is so much frustration is that social conservatives seem to be divided right now about what they are looking for."

Despite Giuliani's positions on social issues, "If you look at regular church attendees across the country, Giuliani has a clear plurality of those voters," Bauer said. He added, "Now there could be a number of reasons for that. One is they don't fully realize his position on the social issues. The other possibility, though, is that some of these voters have decided that defending Western civilization is a moral issue, too. "

Neither Perkins nor Bauer muster a great deal of enthusiasm for the candidacy of former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, even though he has strong evangelical credentials. Mr. Huckabee attended Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, served as a Baptist pastor, and later was president of the Arkansas Baptist State Convention.

"While Governor Huckabee is very good on all the social issues, he has not seemed to find solid footing on the issue of the threat internationally from radical Islam," Perkins said.

"In a major foreign-policy address a couple of weeks ago that did not get much attention … in the middle of the speech [Huckabee] went after the Bush administration on not aggressively negotiating enough with Iran and suggested that the administration needs to offer economic incentives for Iran to change its policy," Bauer said. "That just struck me as a very naive approach."

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