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Saturday, December 3, 2011

Pollistic View of the Cain Aftermath

As expected, Newt Gingrich has been helped by the Cain fallout in recent polls. As I had hoped, Ron Paul has been too. According to the Des Moines Register, Gingrich leads Iowa with 25%, but more surprising is that Ron Paul has 18%, overtaking Mitt Romney (16%) for second place (CNN ran a story on the same poll with the title"Gingrich Ahead in Iowa, poll shows; Romney drops to third." How high do the poll numbers have to get before the media is forced to stop blacking out Paul!!!). Meanwhile, in New Hampshire, key Republican officials claim their support is split between Paul and Gingrich, rather than turning to Romney.

While Gingrich is probably still the favorite, and perhaps the least likely to say something that would jeopardize that spot, this is still incredibly exciting for Paul supporters like myself. In 2008, poll numbers in the 5-10% range in any state would have been considered impressive for Paul. Now he's tripling that in the most important state, Iowa, which has the first primary and whose religiously conservative voters would seem LESS inclined to support Paul than conservatives in other states. He's only 6% below the lead, and that's with a 4.9% margin of error (although of course, that also means he may be in third...let's be optimists!). When you account for the very high "intensity of support" factor of his supporters, compared to the supporters of other non-Romney candidates whose supporters have proven very fickle and undecided, Paul's chances are as high as they've ever been. They're still not high, but slow and steady sometimes wins the race. Even if he doesn't win, his better-than-expected success has to be encouraging for limited government advocates.

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