Ron Paul Third in Texas Staw Poll
The Hill headlines news that Houston’s Ron Paul finished third in a Texas straw poll “Ron Paul: Trouble back home.”
While Texan Ron Paul’s stock is soaring nationally, there is trouble on the home front. In September, Paul finished third in a straw poll of 1,300 Texas Republican activists who had been delegates to recent Republican conventions. The congressman corralled just 17 percent of the votes cast, trailing California’s Duncan Hunter with 41 percent.
This outcome says Texas Republicans aren’t terribly concerned about viability. Otherwise, one of the national front-runners like Rudy Giuliani or Mitt Romney would have beaten these long-shots. But if they were willing to “waste” their votes on Hunter, why didn’t most back a fellow Texan? The truth is that Ron Paul, the angry prophet, has little honor in his own land. He’s about to lose his congressional seat.
Angst over Paul has been building for years. In 2004, disgruntled Republicans asked me to find encouragement for challengers. We polled his suburban Houston district and found that voters resist his contrarian and stark libertarian perspective that even sells out local interests. When told that “Ron Paul consistently opposes taxpayer funding for NASA and wants to eliminate the agency,” 61 percent of Republican primary voters said this information would make them less likely to vote for Paul’s reelection. Similarly, a 54 percent majority said they’d be less likely to vote for Paul when told he “was one of only four Republicans in Congress to vote against President Bush’s plan to encourage faith-based charities.” The list of negatives was long.
To be fair, the 2004 polling also found that his voters endorsed some of the quirky congressman’s actions, particularly his refusal to take a congressional pension and his vote to allow airline pilots to carry guns after the events of Sept. 11, 2001. But there was significantly more bad news than good in that poll for Rep. Paul. But detractors were unsuccessful is recruiting a suitable opponent.
While I think Paul the longest of longshot’s, David Hill’s analysis is rather dubious. This is, after all, a straw poll of mainstream Republican activists whereas Paul is a Libertarian who happens to align himself with the GOP out of convenience. That he’s opposed to pork barrel projects that benefit Texas naturally harms him in Texas but that’s precisely what endears him to his supporters.
Meanwhile, a new poll shows Paul attracting 8 percent running as a Libertarian:
The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey found Hillary Clinton leading Rudy Giuliani by three percentage points in a four-way race that includes Ron Paul running as a Libertarian candidate and Ralph Nader representing the Green Party. The poll shows Clinton earning 42% of the vote while Giuliani attracts 39%. Ron Paul is the choice for 8%, Ralph Nader is preferred by 4% and 7% are not sure.
It’s somewhat interesting that Paul, a relative unknown on the national scene, is polling twice Nader’s numbers. Then again, there’s no reason to think that Paul’s going to mount a third party bid if he fails to win the Republican nomination.