Ron Paul is polling far better than many reporters—or Republicans—give him credit for. Certain people would do well to take him seriously.
Ron Paul polling history
Recent polls by Gallup, Rasmussen, Magellan Strategies, the Associated Press, and others tell the story. Ron Paul came within 152 votes of winning the Ames straw poll. Tim Pawlenty dropped out of the race then, and Rick Perry jumped in. Since then, Paul has consistently polled in the Top Four among Republicans. See:
- Rasmussen Reports, August 16
- Magellan Strategies, August 17
- New Hampshire Young Republicans Straw Poll, August 20
- Gallup, August 22
- Rasmussen, August 23
- Rasmussen, August 24
- Gallup, August 24
- AP-GfK, August 25
(Hat tip: The Case for Ron Paul.)
Despite all this, the media either ignore him or publish banal stories saying that he has no chance of winning. And the reasons they give are utterly specious. For instance, they say that Ron Paul has a “cult following.” Now “cultists” might explain a good showing in the Ames straw poll. But they don’t explain placing second by 152 votes out of more than 16,000 votes cast. And they certainly do not explain placing a bare second to Barack Obama, 39 percent to 38 percent, with 8 percent undecided and 14 percent wanting to vote for someone else. Nor can they explain how Ron Paul has captured clear pluralities of the “independent vote” against Obama.
That last part—about Ron Paul capturing “independent” imaginations—might be why the media want to ignore or belittle him. The mainstream media have been “in the tank” for Obama since he ran back in 2008. Today things have changed. Obama has lost the independent vote. The only Republican who might not have that vote secured yet is Michele Bachmann. (And even then, Obama does not poll 50 percent of the vote against her—and undecided voters always break for the challenger.) But for Ron Paul to have independent appeal must scare Obama and his media allies badly.
What might explain that appeal? Maybe this: he is the only Republican who says that he would bring the troops home, and means it. That might be a total non-starter with Republicans, except for one other thing: he would let ordinary citizens and lawful residents arm themselves.
And that might not be the only reason. Ron Paul’s real signature issue isn’t foreign policy, or anti-war. It’s the Federal Reserve. He wants to abolish it, and put United States money back on an objective standard of value. If anyone doubts that independent voters might want the same thing, let them watch the price of gold. (Hint: as of the close of trading on Friday evening, it is once again on its way up.)
The Fox News case
Fox News is a special case. They don’t ignore Ron Paul. But they don’t like him, either. Sean Hannity seems to remember that, four years ago, Paul did have a “cult following” that gave him almost every vote he got. That wasn’t many. Worse yet, those “cultists” included many “Nine-eleven Truthers,” who insisted that Arab terrorists didn’t destroy the World Trade Center—the United States Air Force did.
Ron Paul never believed that, and doesn’t believe it now. He really seems to believe that Arab terrorism is nothing but “blowback” for years of American “meddling” in the Middle East. That, no one at Fox likes to hear.
But that belief might draw some Democratic voters to Ron Paul’s side. Anyone can see that Barack Obama, however many times he bows and scrapes to Arab leaders in public, still keeps troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. Ron Paul bows to no man, but sees that sending troops abroad is expensive. (It might not be as expensive as he says, but it’s expensive enough.)
Unelectable no more
Four years ago, Ron Paul could (and did) get re-elected to Congress, but to little else. Today he can beat Barack Obama easily, if the Republicans nominate him. They would do well either to do so, or to stand with him on the issues that he cites.
The Obama administration-campaign would love to see Ron Paul bolt the party, as Pat Buchanan almost did in 1992. But even they can’t predict whom he would “spoil” the election for. (They might think they can, but they shouldn’t.)
Terry A. Hurlbut has been a student of politics, philosophy, and science for more than 35 years. He is a graduate of Yale College and has served as a physician-level laboratory administrator in a 250-bed community hospital. He also is a serious student of the Bible, is conversant in its two primary original languages, and has followed the creation-science movement closely since 1993.
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