He beat McCain, 29% to 21%.

But with voters who identified themselves as Republicans, he pulled in 7%. Only Giuliani did worse, with 4%. I’m not counting Hunter, since I think 3 people voted for him tonight.

By the way, 81% of the voters were Republicans and 13% were Independents.

What does this tell you Paulites? Well, your guy has a shot at having a strong showing in New Hampshire, but after that you’re not looking at many good prospects where there will be more Independents showing up than GOPers. Maybe Nevada, but that’s a big maybe.

I’ll say it again, your candidate should start thinking about a 3rd party run.

Obviously, his message speaks to Independents, not Republicans, and there’s no way he can win the GOP nomination by appealing to Independents. Not a chance. But he can spark interest on the national stage, start polling in the mid teens and force the networks to include him in the national debates. His is a message candidacy, and as such he should remain true to the message and try to get it out there as far and as wide as it’ll reach.

But kudos to all of you tonight. Capturing the Independent vote in Iowa is a big story. It’s just not big enough to set the world on fire and get your guy the GOP nomination.

Politics Ron Paul Wins Independent Vote In Iowa