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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Ron Paul Ties for First Place in Iowa

Ron Paul is solidly in play in Iowa, in fact, he's in better shape than the other contenders, with higher rates of voter contact with likely voters in Iowa's upcoming presidential caucus and more firmly decided supporters than the rest of the field. Oh yeah, and he's tied for first:

Herman Cain, Ron Paul, Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich are in a dead heat as the top choices for Iowans likely to attend the Jan. 3 Republican presidential caucuses.

A Bloomberg News poll shows Cain at 20 percent, Paul at 19 percent, Romney at 18 percent and Gingrich at 17 percent among the likely attendees with the caucuses that start the nominating contests seven weeks away.

Economic issues such as jobs, taxes and government spending are driving voter sentiment, rather than such social issues as abortion and gay marriage, the poll finds. Only about a quarter of likely caucus-goers say social or constitutional issues are more important to them, compared with 71 percent who say fiscal concerns.

The poll reflects the race’s fluidity, with 60 percent of respondents saying they still could be persuaded to back someone other than their top choice, and 10 percent undecided. Paul’s support is more solidified than his rivals, while Cain’s is softer. All of the major contenders have issue challenges to address

Source: Bloomberg. Hat tip: Memeorandum.

While mainstream commentators continue to marginalize (and frankly, abuse) Ron Paul and his meteoric bid for the Republican Party's presidential nomination, the numbers simply tell a different story. In key early voting states, Ron Paul is not only well-positioned for second or first place victories according to the polls, his ground game is undeniably stronger than the comparatively weak campaign presence of contenders like Herman Cain (who has virtually no machine in Iowa) and Newt Gingrich.

Earlier this year, I thought that if Ron Paul won the GOP presidential primary, it would be because the other candidates would stretch out the establishment vote between them and leave the core, libertarian and classical conservative constituency in the hands of Ron Paul, who would just barely squeak by. But as campaign after campaign has imploded and the dizzying number of debates has disillusioned Republican voters with all the possible alternatives to Mitt Romney, Ron Paul could win in a scenario that differs from the one I had previously imagined.

Ron Paul could win this thing by out-working all of the other campaigns (just as Obama defeated Clinton in 2008) and by being the only viable alternative to Mitt Romney. It might not happen. But it really might.

Wes Messamore,
Editor in Chief, THL
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