Former actor and Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson -- still playing footsie with running for president -- has leapfrogged over John McCain for second place in Florida and Ohio and tied him in Pennsylvania, according to Quinnipiac University polls in the three battleground states.
"The Fred Thompson express continues to roll," said pollster Peter Brown. "Now the question is whether his candidacy, once he begins active campaigning, will be as strong in the flesh as it appears on paper."
One potential problem for Thompson in Florida, home to many Haitian-Americans: he was a lobbyist in Washington for deposed Haitian President Jean Bertrand-Aristide. Read that story here.
The Quinnipiac University poll shows other non-candidates such as Democrat Al Gore and Republican Newt Gingrich also surpassed hard-charging contenders. In a Democratic primary matchup in Florida, Hillary Clinton gets 38 percent, followed by 15 percent for Barack Obama, 13 percent for Gore and 8 percent for John Edwards. Among Republicans, Giuliani gets 27 percent, with 21 percent for Thompson, 13 percent for McCain, 7 percent for Gingrich and 6 percent for Mitt Romney.
In a potential general election contest, Giuliani beats Clinton 48-42 percent.