Thursday, 22 December 2011

Is Ron Paul Leading in Iowa or Not?

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Ron Paul is the true embodiment of a dark-horse candidate, at least in Iowa. He began in the polls with approval ratings of as low as four percent in that key state and has slowly but surely moved steadily into the frontrunner position there. The New York Times is now projecting him to be the clear winner in Iowa. But even as some mainstream media outlets are facing that reality, some are still clinging to a more fantastical reality where Ron Paul remains behind.

According to a USA Today story entitled, “Despite money and support, Ron Paul still not in lead,” regardless of what the polls say, Paul is not actually in the lead because establishment Republicans do not want him.

The article begins by noting, “Texas Rep. Ron Paul can raise millions of dollars in a single day, has a solid organization of passionate supporters and recently has been moving up in the polls, yet few mainstream Republicans are willing to give him the ‘front-runner’ title so many of his rivals in the GOP presidential field have held.”

The article goes on to discuss the steady progress that Paul has made in the polls, and how well-received his message has been.

Rep. Walter Jones, a North Carolina Republican and Ron Paul supporter, made a similar observation about the surprising success of Paul’s success in Iowa. “He’s doing this on his own and is not getting any help from the party. He doesn’t need them. They need him.”

Likewise, David Fischer, Paul’s Iowa vice chairman, said, "Most political figures spend their careers chasing their electorate. Ron Paul has been standing in one place with the same message for decades now and the electorate has come to him."

However, the USA Today writer ultimately contends that Paul has maximized his approval:

Beyond his core support, there is little evidence that other Republicans want Paul. He's the second choice of only 9% of likely caucusgoers, according to one recent Iowa poll; his foreign policy positions have been attacked often by his Republican opponents; and he showed similar strength in the 2008 race before faltering.

Jim Dyke, a Republican strategist foresees problems for Paul. He asserts that while Paul appeals to those “who hunger for rebellion against business as usual in Washington [voters want] a clear vision that can rally a coalition to defeat President Obama and just like the candidates before him, Ron Paul is likely to hit troubled waters.”

The article goes on to cite “experts” such as Dennis Goldford, a politics professor at Drake University, who asserts that Paul’s so-called isolation message is what threatens his success.

"Ron Paul is essentially a libertarian who is trying to take a Republican nomination," he said. "Ron Paul reflects an old libertarian approach to the military" as an extension of big government.

The overall conclusion of the USA Today story is that despite the polls, despite the fundraising successes, despite the multiple straw poll victories, Paul can expect to fail because he does not have the support of the establishment.

Yet the New York Times just reported two days ago that Ron Paul is the clear projected winner for the Republican primary in Iowa. According to a NYT poll, Paul has 49 percent of the vote, with Romney behind with 27 percent, followed by Gingrich with 15.5 percent. The Times summarizes the figures, “These forecasts are formulated from an average of recent surveys, with adjustments made to account for a polling firm’s accuracy, freshness of a poll and each candidate’s momentum.”

An Iowa State University poll showed that Ron Paul is in the lead with 27.5 percent of those likely caucus-goers polled, followed by Gingrich with 25.3 percent of the vote, and then Romney with 17.5 percent.

Likewise, a Public Policy Poll from Sunday shows Ron Paul in the lead.

CNN has also projected Paul to take Iowa, calling Paul’s campaign a more aggressive one than any of his contenders.

Perhaps most importantly, a recent CNN/ORC poll released yesterday shows that Paul is the strongest GOP candidate when it comes to a hypothetical race against Barack Obama. That poll is a significant one as it shoots down the establishment’s theory that a Paul nomination is a sure-fire way to see Obama’s reelection.

Still, USA Today contends that without the support of mainstream Republicans, Ron Paul stands little to no chance.

But despite the assertions of establishment Republicans and Democrats, a May Gallup survey showed that Americans are increasingly supporting the establishment of a Third Party, particularly Republicans.

Yahoo News reported:

Fifty-two percent of Republicans say they support a third party because the two major parties do such "a poor job" of representing the people. Just 33 percent of Democrats felt similarly — and, as expected, self-described independents were the most forceful backers of a third party, with 68 percent indicating support.

According to Gallup, it was the first time that “a significantly higher percentage of Republicans than Democrats” favor a third party.

With so many conflicting assertions, it seems a fair observation to say that not all of these statements can be true. Either Republicans are fed up with the status quo and are interested in real change, as noted by the Gallup poll, or they are interested in more of the same establishment policies, as USA Today contends, and will opt for one of Paul’s contenders over Paul. Either the polls are an honest indication of who will win the Iowa poll, or they are not. But if the latter is true, then the accuracy of all polls would then have to be called into question. And that is likely not something that establishment is purporting. They mean that only the polls which show Paul in the lead should be called into question, and critics ask, where is the credibility in that?

“By definition, if Ron Paul wins something, it no longer matters,” noted Cenk Uygur, co-founder and main host of The Young Turks, a progressive Internet and radio talk show . 

While the establishment is doing its best to undermine Paul’s poll and financial successes, or to interfere with a Paul victory, Paul’s supporters believe that the Ron Paul “revolution” is upon us. It brings to mind the famous quote by the French Romantic writer Victor Hugo, “An invasion of armies can be resisted; an invasion of ideas cannot.”

Fortunately for the American people, there is less than two weeks before one of the many theories surrounding the Iowa caucus is proven true.

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