If you’re just joining the discussion, I asked Ron Paul supporters 7 questions in a recent post and got over 100 responses at last count.

So now I’m organizing the responses to each question into a post of their own. We’ll have 7 in all. You can find the answers to question #1 here, but onto…

Question 2: How was Ron Paul’s 5th place Iowa straw poll finish a good showing if Tom Tancredo has less money and is polling below Paul nationally, but he won 4th?

  • Michael: The Iowa straw poll is nothing but a dog and pony show. The votes are purchased plain and simple. Significant proof of this is the fact that Rudy, McCain & F. Thompson were on the ballot, yet received a minimal amount. Given their strong poll numbers in other polls it’s fair to say that if the votes were not purchased, they would have placed higher.
  • Tony Lambiris: I think this is largely in part to the Internet. Alot of people that believe in the spirit of the Internet and what it stands for (at least here in America, free and open), which is a big issue with Ron Paul (net neutrality). Plus I think Ron Paul is striking a chord with the younger generation just because of his straight-talk; no political double-speak.
  • coainley: He probably finished higher than 5th, but Diebold made sure to give a lot of his votes to someone else. I remember hearing about a 4500 vote recount. Those were probably his. Here’s a quick search: http://www.freemarketnews.com/WorldNews.asp?nid=47335&fb=1
  • Tim: I don’t think it was a good showing, but I don’t follow closely enough to know the details. Many have said that Paul is very thrifty, hadn’t spent much in Iowa, and still has relatively full coffer. I haven’t verified this, so I don’t know. All I know is that we’re gonna have to put in a little overtime to promote the message.
  • Ward Ciac: He did 5th in a week’s campaigning. He just came in 3rd in Illinois almost 2nd.
  • Lex: 5th place in Iowa was a good thing. 9% was a good thing. Finishing behind Tancredo was not. The Paul campaign could have gambled big and tried to win or place 2nd, and maybe it would have gotten a lot more media attention. Instead they played it safe, still have a ton of cash, and have more coming in. Time will tell if the safe strategy pays off.
  • PC: Didn’t really mean much, first Iowa is not a bellweather state as far as technology in politics is concerned, the amount of volunteers was nice. You did notice that three of the top four don’t believe in evolution so I think that speaks to the intellectual ability of the voters at the straw poll.
  • Scott: I don’t agree that it was, but also I disagree on the importance of the results, as I admire the opportunity for all the candidates to speak to such a large crowd in a non-debate.
  • Rudy G: On the surface one may be tempted to jump to the conclusion that Ron Paul didn’t fare as well in the recent Iowa Straw Poll as desired. I contend that his finish was near PERFECT, with an almost divine blend of attributes that’ll help him down the road. […] Ron Paul had more physical supporters, more passionate supporters, less time on the ground in Iowa, and little, except negative media spin leading up to the Ames Poll. Yet he proved his followers were actually more than some internet robot voting in polls. So, Ron Paul proves his internet support is not only real, but passionately dedicated to supporting his run for the presidency in 2008. […] Congressman Paul also proved that, unlike Rudy Giuliani, John McCain, and Fred Thompson – the no-shows, he’s not afraid of Iowan voters, something the others who whimpered away from Iowa with their tails between their legs, fearing an Iowan massacre, can’t say. […] Had Ron Paul beat the other so-called second-tier candidates, Mike Huckabee, Sam Brownback, & Tommy Tancredo, that just might have been the straw that broke their respective campaign’s back. Beating Ron Paul in Ames, they now have a fresh wind in their sails to continue campaigning – which ultimately increases the odds of the pro-war vote dilution amongst all the pro-war candidates (Mitt Romney, John McCain, and Rudy Giuliani, and Fred Thompson to name a few). […] Dr. Paul himself pointed out in a recent interview that Fred Thompson’s pending entry into the race would serve to only further dilute an already-diluted and shrinking pro-war vote base. I no longer feel threatened that the addition of more pro-war candidates will hurt Dr. Paul. In fact, the more…the merrier.
  • Corky: Tancredo SPENT far more money and time in Iowa that Dr. Paul did. Dittos for the other three candidates who finished ahead of him.
  • Doofus: Because Tom Tancredo spent his entire campaign in Iowa, with a little itty bitty part in South Carolina. Iowa’s retail politics demand face time; consider that the other “leading contenders” got 1% of the vote. Ron was there for all of a week.
  • John Campbell: Tancredo has a lot of name recognition coming off the recent amnesty legislation battle. Ron Paul is still building name recognition. Most people know who Tancredo is. Most do not know who Ron Paul is. His campaign started later and originally wrote off Iowa until massive 2Q campaign contributions made it possible to mount a campaign there. He has only spent 17 days in Iowa. I’m looking at the trends and Ron Paul’s trends are all positive.
  • Aaron: The Ames Straw poll reflects the ability to speak to the traditional base (last half decade) who are active in the party. Ron Paul supporters are not these folks. These guys are theocrats and hawks. […] They will not ultimately be big fans of the socially moderate front runners but they will eventually be drowned out and somewhat irrelevant on Super Tuesday—that’s why we did not see the front runners there (except Romney who needed to purchase a headline). […] I would characterize the Ames result as positive in that it was not a death nail for the campaign. Further, it demonstrated to the movement that widespread and vocal support is not enough, we must engage the process to have a real chance. So, it could be a very healthy event in the history of this campaign.
  • NH: Iowa was fake. Mike and Tom and Sam have 0 support in NH. Mike and Sam are for open borders/amnesty.
  • Sean Scallon: Yes finishing fifth in Iowa is not a great result but not bad given the context. He spent the least amount of time and money in Iowa compared to the other candidates and unlike Tancredo, Huckabee and Brownback, he’s not flat broke either. And unlike them he has a national base of support. Such supporters are willing to post signs anywhere and contribute through the internet to pay for newspaper and radio and cable TV ads in the five early primaries and caucuses. It was through such grassroots advertising that RP was able to get 1,300 supporters at all.
  • Jonathan Bennett: Tom Tancredo spent more time and money than Ron Paul did. Just because Tancredo had a good showing doesn’t mean that Paul didn’t have a good showing. Both of them did well!
  • Buckwheat: Tancredo spent 66 days in Iowa, Paul spent 17. Paul is running a national campaign.
  • Dan Warner: Ron Paul made a great advance over what he showed in national polls. I think that shows movement and being that he is fiscaly conservative he has the money to continue the momentum. Tancredo does not..
  • Corey Cagle: 5th place isn’t anything to get overly excited about, but considering that Ron Paul spent just about a week in Iowa, and very little money, 9.1% isn’t bad. Especially considering his 1-2% showing in the national polls.
  • johnnyb: You ought to know that 10 percent in a matter of days and the most energetic supporters was a coup in Iowa. Tancredo spent his wad and months there and provided free transport. He could have easily competed with Romney if he spent half as much as Mitt.
  • Jeanette Doney: I’m trying to figure out how NON-Candidate Fred Thompson got on the poll. Being 5th beats being 11th eh?
  • meinaz: Paul and Tancredo are targeting the same audience, albeit with different maxims. They are both speaking to the voter with no faith in the political system. Both are routinely tagged hopeless or insane by the media. A vote for them is in some way a vote against old-media. I think if Tancredo runs out of money Paul will receive his votes. Tancredo’s nearly broke now. Just as Huckabee and Brownback’s have divided a large Christian vote, when Tancredo and Paul’s votes are combined, the GOP will be forced to address their platforms (immigration and freedom).
  • Edward Keithly: We won’t accurately know how much any candidate spent in Ames until Oct 15, but we know who spent money there, and who didn’t. Tom Tancredo hired 59 buses to bring in supporters, and most likely bought their tickets. All this on top of weeks of campaigning in Iowa. […] Compare Ron Paul who bought 800 tickets, and got 1300 votes. That means at least 500 people, on their own dime, made their way to Ames to vote for someone they almost certainly had not shook his hand, given Dr. Paul’s limited appearances and presence in Iowa. […] Ron Paul’s people won the visibility contest. They may have been from out of state, but they were energized. And, contrary to many popular reports, they exist outside the internet, at least enough to beat out Thompson and Hunter. […] The race goes not to the swift, but to the steady.
  • Vicky: As of the end of the last quarter, Tancredo spent $2,209,606 as opposed to Ron Paul’s $655,142. Tancredo putting the majority of his time and money into Iowa while Paul didn’t even have a campaign hq there until 2 days before the straw-poll. Paul spent a grand total of a week in Iowa to Tancredo’s months. What you really should be asking is how did the guy who only spent a week in Iowa and didn’t rent a single bus even come in 5th?? Tancredo will be done soon, same with McCain, Huckabee, and Brownback while Ron Paul continues to build his war-chest and is gaining more loyal supporters everyday.
  • Matt C: The 5th place was an okay result.
  • Patrick: If Tancredo and Paul were the only two candidates in the straw poll, your question would make more sense.
  • meatwad: RP’s fifth place finish in the IA straw poll was calculated by Diebold voting machines! ‘Nuff said?
  • James Aragon: Tancredo spent a substantial amount of time (2 months) and spend at least $100,000 more in Iowa. Ron Paul spent 2 weeks and spent his money in the last week leading up to the poll, in my opinion money not well spent as the results would of been the same. Ron Paul got his votes on message, while Tancredo was on persistence. Ron Paul’s campaign persistence is a growing presence as you have felt.
  • Ellis_Wyatt: The exit polls clearly show Paul won in a landslide, the GOP just stole it cold. Fact.
  • Jordan: How was Ron Paul’s 5th place straw poll finish a good showing if Tom Tancredo has less money and is polling below Paul nationally, but he won 4th?
    Because the Paul is painted by the media as being a “fringe” candidate. The fact that he did not end up at the bottom with the one-percenters is a win.
  • bbartlog: Ron Paul’s finish was good from a return-on-effort perspective. Of course this just means the question of where he would have placed had he spent 60 days in Iowa remains unanswered.
  • chad: why is 5th place great for ron paul? well every news agency has him polling at 2% and suddenly he is now polling at 9% thats quite an overnight jump, as for tancredo i assume that the people in iowa were very supportive of his anti-immigration policies and he also spent alot more time there prior to the straw poll, 66 campaign events compared to ron pauls 17.
  • Tannim: Because Tancredo is broke and Paul isn’t; because Tancredo is a one-horse show and Paul isn’t; because Tancredo spent a lot of time in IA and Paul didn’t; and because Tancredo got MSM coverage and Paul didn’t.
  • Mr. Dylan: The event in Iowa was an isolated event. It was also not only the fact that Ron Paul spent less than almost every other candidate, just like Reagan (who lost the straw poll and then went on to win) for the ammount of time he spent campaigning (a week) he averaged more votes than any other candidate. That’s how powerful his message is, even when the established press does all it can to ignore him. And don’t forget who helped get Reagan into office, Ron Paul. […] I had friends who drove 400+ miles to Iowa. They mentioned that Tom Tancredo supporters couldn’t be seen anywhere. The Straw Poll is a fund raising event for the GOP. It has nothing in reality to do with winning the election. But a passionate group of thousands of supporters willing to travel across the country just to be there to show their support of a candidate is recipee for the strength of a campaign and it’s ability to stand the test of time like nothing else. Unlike some of these soon to be short lived campaigns who just throw all their money on one event to make a big splash, and not having the substance to form a substantial base.
  • Spirit of ’76: Tancredo spent more time and effort campaigning in Iowa before the straw poll. Ron Paul had little invested in Iowa, yet still gave a good showing and demonstrated that the “scientific” opinion polls are largely invalid. […] Furthermore, I believe that Ames was a high water mark for Tancredo, while it was Paul’s breakout moment. Tancredo is a single issue candidate, while Paul is multi-faceted. As Tancredo’s campaign falls apart over the coming months, Paul can pick up his supporters due to Paul’s strong stance on immigration, and he can also educate them on other pressing issues of our time.
  • James Maynard: Reagan lost the 1979 Ames poll, and his activists looked at the amount of time he had spent there compared to the votes he got, and decided it was worth carrying on. Reagan later on went on to win the nomination and presidency. Tancredo spent (IIRC) a month in Iowa before the poll compared to Paul’s four days. Paul also spent far, far less than Tancredo (who, again, IIRC, blew his entire wad of money on that one straw poll). Fifth place isn’t bad for 4 days in Iowa and 250k spent. If Reagan can do it, so can Paul.
  • Jim: It is a good showing because he won 9% of the vote while spending the least amount of time on Iowa of all those that participated. He won, by a long margin, the ratio of votes per day spent in Iowa, and votes per dollar. Paul is on the upslope. Expect better results next time.
  • mike: ron was barely in iowa. other candidates spent a lot more time there. i believe many votes were cast before he was first heard; because of his wife’s problems he did not deliver his 9am speech. showing had much to do with Christian values… i believe 2-4 were all the only creationists. not too scared of tancredo!
  • Aaron: As an Iowan, I think the fact that he got 10% around here is huge. The fact that he’d like to do away with farm subsidies, in a state full of corn and soybeans, is a big deal. Also, while Iowans are generally nice, they’re very bigoted. I know that sounds mean, and it’s generalizing, but the die-hard Republicans around this state hate ‘Mexicans’, and Tancredo’s hardline ideas on immigration works well around here.
  • Dw: As far as 5th place=disapointing We started way too late it seems, Iowans seem to be the kind of people that dont believe anything that you tell/show them until one of their own says the same thing and then they go “yeah, I knew that” Arghh


I think the point that Paul wasn’t there very long is a fair one, but I still don’t think finishing behind Tancredo is a “good” spot to be in.

However, a lot has happened in the “straw poll” world since Iowa…the biggest being Paul’s trouncing in New Hampshire, where he won 73% of the vote. To capture that much of the vote in an early primary state is incredibly important, so kudos to Paul for that.

And then there’s Alabama, where he captured a similar percentage of the vote.

In other words, you all may be right that Iowa wasn’t that big of a deal…maybe…

Next up…Question 3:What would a Paul presidency look like given that Paul’s position is a rather simple one…meaning he doesn’t vote for anything that isn’t sanctioned by the Constitution?

Stay tuned!

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