Paul's Performance in Iowa

Ron Paul ran a good race. Everyone said he was superbly organized, and spent a lot of time in the state. So what does this tell us?

That the absolute best Paul will do in any GOP primary is about 20-25%. He is so different than all of the other GOP candidates that voters will essentially split into "Paul" versus "anyone-but-Paul" camps. And everyone voting in Iowa got to know him and what he stands for. Or, in other words, while it looks as though Paul came close to Romney (losing 24% to 21%), if the contest had been Paul versus Romney straight up, the result would have been 79% to 21%: a complete blowout.

Sorry, Paulistas: 80% of GOP voters love war and belligerence. Your guy is not going to give it to them. And so they will never, ever vote for him.


  1. Gene wrote:

    That the absolute best Paul will do in any GOP primary is about 20-25%

    I'm not predicting this, but if Paul gets 30% or more in any of the primaries going forward, will you write a post with the title, "I was a cocksure SOB, and Murphy warned me about it after Iowa"?

    There are a million different ways to interpret what happened yesterday, and yet you are positive your intepretation is the correct one. I could use the data from yesterday to say:

    "By all accounts, Santorum put up the best possible performance he could, having blanketed the state. Clearly Santorum, the allegedly conservative candidate, stole more from Paul than Romney, whom true conservatives detest. So what can we conclude? The floor for Paul is 21%. We can expect him to do much better in the future."

    Again, not saying the above is right, but we need more information than what you put in your post to say yours is better than mine.

  2. Bob, that is how it looks to me. Of course, I could be wrong. But I'd guess if Santorum had been out, Paul might have picked up about 2% or 3% of the vote total, cause that's about what the Santorum surge bumped him down -- he peaked at 24%, and dropped to 21% with the surge.

    And that seems right given their positions: most Santorum voters are enthusiastic hawks, and could not ever bring themselves to vote for someone who is "surrendering to jihad."

    And I will write that post. But if he polls, say, 30% in, say, Montana, after every other candidate but him and Romney are out, THAT doesn't make my prediction false: that is still "about" 20-25%, given the small sample in Montana and the high likelihood of protest votes at that point. But, let's say he goes over 30% in any state of rank 30 in population or higher (so that's the top 30), yes, I will write it.

  3. If the anti-war ceiling really is only 25%, then I hope he threatens to scuttle the ship and go 3rd party. Let's see how bad the GOP really want Obama out.

  4. traumerei, that seems the ceiling to me: don't you think he has the whole GOP anti-war vote already?

    I wish it weren't so!

  5. Gene, you're right on essentials. The GOP ain't what it was in the days of Bob Taft. (Pity.)

    For the 'isolationist' to get only 21% in IOWA is grim.

    The non-interventionist coalition -- if there is to be one -- will be built in other places and on other classes than it was in the 1940s. That's history for ye.

    The Republican Party's great (not perfect) days were in the Old Right period. Everything else is purt-near a dead loss, including my old hero, Barry Goldwater. And even he towers over most of these would-be presidential clowns. History repeats itself, first as tragedy then as farce (Marx). We are well into the farcical (and anti-Axial) phase of history.

  6. He does seem to have the GOP antiwar vote, which, even if we were to discount Iowa's above average Evangelical population, seems to be a definite minority.

    Still, in 2008 I was convinced that his support was fixed in the single digits. Now he's at 13% and near the pop sociology "tipping point"

    Plurality voting definitely rigs the game against anyone outside of the two moderate party system but it isn't impossible to overcome. But I wish I knew what it took to recreate the conditions that brought about the demise of the Federalist and Whig parties (among others).

  7. Unfortunately (and I think Gene agress that it is unfortunate) I think Gene is essentially right.

  8. Anonymous4:48 PM


    Ron won, or rather tied, where it counts. He received the same number of delegates (6) as Romney and Santorum.

  9. Whiggish:

    1) Delegates are not assigned by the caucus. That happens in June. (That is why the 6 "for" Paul are in the column "Soft unpledged" -- they are not obligated to vote for him at all.)

    2) Even if 1) were not true, what would your post have to do with what I wrote?

  10. Anonymous6:43 PM


    My point was delegates are what's important. He doesn't need a majority in every state per se.

    You're right that the delegates are non-binding but it seems Paul's campaign had a strategy. Read here:

  11. Yes, I was aware that it was delegate count that matters. I began watching elections in 1968.

    How will that help him when he is running alone against Romney, and is losing 75% to 25%, with Romney taking three-quarters or all of the delegates?


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