Paul’s offline poll numbers remain low. Just 2 percent of Iowans surveyed at the end of July said they would vote for him in the 2008 Republican caucus among the field of current GOP presidential candidates, according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll released Sunday. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney still leads the pack with 26 percent of Iowans saying they would pick him.
But political commentators and pundits are keeping an eye on Paul’s campaign, since his success Saturday could tip the balance for second-tier presidential candidates.
“I think that’s what’s the most fascinating … how Ron Paul will do,” says Julie Germany, deputy director of George Washington University’s Institute for Politics, Democracy and the Internet. “His supporters have overwhelmingly been on the internet,” where blog rankings, YouTube videos and enthusiastic forum participation make his support appear “two or three times what it really is.”
Again, I think this could either be a turning point for Paul or a sign that he may need to think about running on a 3rd party ticket. Somehow I think it’s going to be the latter, given how much Romney is spending…
One candidate, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, has assembled an unrivaled operation for the event: a statewide corps of 60 “super-volunteers,” who have been paid between $500 and $1,000 per month to talk him up; a fleet of buses; more than $2 million in television ads in Iowa; a sleek direct-mail campaign; and a consultant who has been paid nearly $200,000 to direct Romney’s straw poll production, which will include barbecue billed as the best in the state.
Whoa. I don’t want to be that consultant if Romney loses.