Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colo.

In another sign Americans are looking for outlets to express their concerns over illegal immigration, Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colo., is handily beating conservative icon Rush Limbaugh in an online poll on who would make the best Republican candidate for president in 2008.

Tancredo is the chairman of the Congressional Immigration Reform Caucus and a leader of those calling for immediate and dramatic policy changes to restrict illegal traffic over the borders. Limbaugh is America’s most popular radio talk-show host with more than 20 million listeners every week and is considered a kingmaker for the Republican Party.

The poll is organized by a St. Louis Republican survey company that specializes in automated polling. Survey Saint Louis has been commissioned by Bush-Cheney ’04, the Republican National Committee and several statewide candidates in Missouri.

Rush Limbaugh

The Tancredo-Limbaugh match-up is part of the company’s “Presidential March Madness” sweepstakes that began March 17 with pair-ups of 64 possible candidates for the GOP nomination in 2008. In the first round, Tancredo beat Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., 73.9 percent to 26.1 percent with more than 2,000 votes cast. Early voting in the Tancredo vs. Limbaugh contest showed the congressman with an even bigger percentage.

Tancredo has been the biggest vote-getter in the contest to date.

Each day through April 4, new surveys winnow the candidates down to one mock GOP nominee.

In the first round, Rudy Giuliani defeated Gary Bauer, Newt Gingrich knocked off Bob Ehrlich, John Sununu overcame Jack Kemp, Rick Santorum beat Christi Todd Whitman, Dennis Hastert over Mike Rounds, Mitt Romney undermined Dan Quayle, Tom Ridge beat Dirk Kempthorne, George Pataki defeated Craig Benson, Norm Coleman whipped John Kyl, Tommy Franks conquered John Thune, Haley Barbour bounced J. Kennet Blackwell, Lindsey Graham over Chuck Hagel, Marc Racicot over Bob Taft and Pat Buchanan over Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Bill Frist, Sean Hannity, Tom Coburn, Mitch Daniels, Elizabeth Dole, Colin Powell, Tommy Thompson, Jeb Bush, Condoleezza Rice, Roy Blunt, Chuck Grassley, Sam Brownback, Bill Owens, Tim Pawlenty, J.C. Watts and George Allen all advanced to a second round scheduled for tomorrow.

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