Ron Paul Third in Texas Staw Poll

Ron Paul Third in Texas Staw Poll Photo 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.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2008, Congress, Guns and Gun Control, Public Opinion Polls, , , , , , , , , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Brad says:

    Ron Paul’s Economic Stand Will Be Vindicated In 2008.

    Things are About To get Very Bad For Us All. The Money Men Are Panicking And Mentioning The 1930s.

    The Constitution Is Not Outdated !!!

    Save The Republic; Vote Ron Paul !!!

  2. steve says:

    Why do you people insist that Ron Paul is a libertarian? He has been elected for 10 terms as a REPUBLICAN therefore he is a Republican with libertarian values there is a difference that as a journalist you should already be aware of this fact.

    As far as losing his seat? They have been trying to do that to Ron Paul for years which includes this past election where they added 2 counties to his district that were extremely democrat and he still won by a landslide.

    Get it through your heads people he is not going away although if journalists are going print lies instead of the truth i would say those are the people that will be losing thier seats. Or maybe it’s just the lack of research either way it is harmful in the very least.


  3. James Joyner says:

    Why do you people insist that Ron Paul is a libertarian? He has been elected for 10 terms as a REPUBLICAN therefore he is a Republican with libertarian values

    Well, he did run for president on the Libertarian Party ticket a while back.

  4. Luther says:

    Alan Greenspan agrees with Ron Paul’s free market monetary policy:

    “In the absence of the gold standard, there is no way to protect savings from confiscation through inflation. There is no safe store of value. If there were, the government would have to make its holding illegal, as was done in the case of gold. If everyone decided, for example, to convert all his bank deposits to silver or copper or any other good, and thereafter declined to accept checks as payment for goods, bank deposits would lose their purchasing power and government-created bank credit would be worthless as a claim on goods. The financial policy of the welfare state requires that there be no way for the owners of wealth to protect themselves.

    This is the shabby secret of the welfare statists’ tirades against gold. Deficit spending is simply a scheme for the confiscation of wealth. Gold stands in the way of this insidious process. It stands as a protector of property rights. If one grasps this, one has no difficulty in understanding the statists’ antagonism toward the gold standard.”

  5. Go see how many straw polls Duncan Hunter has won. He only won this one because Duncan was the only candidate to show up. I also believe this was the same straw poll where they would not let Ron Paul supporters through the front door. There is a video floating around the net about that.
    It is strange why they bring this old news up. Whey are they not praising Dr. Paul for how many polls he has won?

  6. Libertarians are republican…

  7. Francine says:

    Jeez, why do you guys insist on spending so much time lying about and distorting the view of a candidate you claim has no chance of winning?

    “David Hill, a Texas Republican pollster, writes in today’s issue of The Hill that Ron Paul “is about to lose his congressional seat” while he’s out campaigning for president. Considering Paul’s outspoken opposition to the war, and his general eccentricity, it is not an unreasonable proposition on its face — that is, until you actually read Hill’s piece.

    As evidence for his point, Hill cites a push poll that he took in Paul’s district in 2004(?). Here is what he had to say about it:

    …NASA is based in Paul’s district…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.

    That’s interesting — except that NASA is based in the neighboring Houston-Galveston district of Rep. Nick Lampson (D-Tex.). Or at least, that’s what Lampson’s office and his website tell me. This should not have been too difficult to check. (Paul’s press secretary notes that there are several NASA employees and retirees living in Paul’s district.)

    Hill’s other piece of evidence is a September straw poll in Dallas (six hours from Paul’s district), which Duncan Hunter won with 41 percent. None of the major candidates participated in the poll, partly because it was limited to current and former party convention delegates and alternates. Paul, despite being in his home state, received only only 17 percent of the votes cast. Paul did not do as well as he’d hoped, but how this is representative of anything that’s going on in Paul’s district — or anywhere — is completely beyond me.

    Finally, Hill cites a phantom poll from “another pollster” from this year. He gives no numbers or questions, but suggests that one of Paul’s challengers, Friendswood City Councilman Chris Peden, has a shot at beating him in the March primary. Well, maybe he does. But considering that Peden began his campaign in May and had just $400 in his campaign account at the end of the last quarter, is this assertion worth an entire column in The Hill?”

  8. Brent says:

    Please, PLEASE, stop saying “he’s just a republican out of convenience”. That’s very false.

    Ron Paul ran as a Republican in 1976. He’s been voted in as a Republican 10 times since.

    He’s for small government/states rights, financial (and personal) responsibility, and a non-interventionist foreign policy. He represents the Old Right, the Robert Taft and Barry Goldwater Republicans (even Reagan).

    Over the years he has been endorsed by several republicans. Ronald Reagan (Paul ran his Texas delegation in 76), Barry Goldwater Jr, Robert Novak, Pat Buchanan (+his PAC), Andrew Napolitano, etc. etc.

    Sure, he’s also been endorsed by Milton Friedman and was inspired by books like The Road to Surfdom and The Law – but so was Ronald Reagan.

    I just get tired of it. HE IS A REPUBLICAN. paleoconservative. More conservative than these big government republicans that have taken over.

  9. Aaron Walker says:

    Are you kidding me? You are honestly going to cite a more than 2 month old straw poll result to attempt to discredit Congressman Ron Paul’s grassroots campaign successes to date?

    I attended the Texas straw poll and as was correctly pointed out by Sailing Charters, there were circumstances at that Straw Poll which severely impacted the outcome. No, there was not a censorship conspiracy as some of the links and videos out on the net purport, but there was a rule change made which prevented delegates from participating unless they had voted in a previous official party meeting. This effectively excluded many new delegates (disaffected, disillusioned voters who have gained new life and hope as a direct result of Congressman Paul’s message) who would have voted for Congressman Paul.

    The September Texas straw poll results are old news. The real straw poll story is in the fact that Congressman Paul has won 21 out of the 43 straw polls held nationwide so far, and is 37 and 2 against Duncan Hunter in head-to-head straw poll results.

    What kind of shameless stunt are you trying to pull here?

  10. Al says:

    Total Straw poll winners:

    1. Ron Paul (13)
    2. Mitt Romney, Fred Thompson (8)
    4. Mike Huckabee, Duncan Hunter (2)
    6. Rudy Giuliani (1)
    7. Alan Keyes, John McCain, Tom Tancredo (0)

  11. Curtis says:

    He did pretty dang good in that Texas Straw Poll. That Duncan Hunter won it shows that illegal immigration, not Duncan Hunter, was the main issue on minds. Beside that, Ron Paul has long been a thorn in the side of the Texas Republican establishment and they’ve funded his Democratic opponents in the past.

  12. fubarb says:

    All news is good news when you have an untouchable candidate like Paul. This is the single most honest, principled, ethical man holding any national office – by lightyears. For every attacker and distorter and character assassinater, new defenders pop up to set the story straight.

    Even some ideological foes are defending him because of the obvious BS. The fools attacking him are overreaching so far, you would think they were at a podium, not on the internet. We get to respond here! Let them make buffoons of themselves for all to see.

  13. JAMES says:


  14. Brian Middleton says:

    Now Ron Paul is an “angry prophet”? It just gets more and more ridiculous everyday with the smears, BUT it is a indirectly positive thing since no one would smear a non threat.

    To answer people why they keep saying he is a Libertarian, well its easy. The “mainstream” generally consider libertarians as some crazy nuts so the more you associate Ron Paul with that, the more mud you can throw without really saying what you are thinking.

    Keep up the fight and make sure to CORRECT this nonsense.

    RON PAUL 2008 teaparty07 dot com

  15. jmklein says:

    That was September, this is November.

    Besides Ron Paul has outright won a strew of straw polls, but oh wait, i forgot, when Ron Paul wins a straw poll its spamming, but when he looses its representative…

  16. JTM says:

    the only problem here is their polling technique. I wish they did a follow up question: “tell me 5 things about bush’s plan to encourage faith-based charities.” or I wonder how many less would vote for “Senator Giuliani” if we made up a phony bill and said he voted against it. My bet is a lot… most Americans would never know the difference.

  17. Darren D says:

    James Joyner says,

    “Well, he did run for president on the Libertarian Party ticket a while back.”

    Ronald Reagan was a Democrat before he stumped for Goldwater in 1964.

    Would you describe Reagan as a Democrat who happened to align himself with the GOP out of convenience?

    If you keep telling yourself that Dr. Paul is the longest of longshots…YOU might start to believe it. We are just going to keep on laughing at you.

  18. Craig says:

    The Texas Republican Party had to rig the rules to keep Ron Paul from winning, because he is the only candidate actually creating any grassroots excitement and getting people to turn out for straw polls. He had more supporters there than any other candidate, even though they couldn’t vote.

    The fact that he got 17% of the vote from hardcore Republican Party activists — the guys who support George W. Bush — was remarkable. It’s probably much higher now that his campaign looks viable, financially and organizationally.

  19. Cleaner44 says:

    Ron Paul is winning this race. He dominates in Straw Polls, Debate Polls, Fund Raising, Web Traffic and Grass Roots Networking.

    Please visit http://www.thecaseforronpaul and see for yourself.

  20. DFW says:

    This is old news rehashed. Ron Paul is gaining momentum in Texas. I drive throughout the Dallas Fort Worth metroplex, and I am receiving lots of praise for my Ron Paul bumper sticker.

  21. FZappa says:

    James, the straw poll you’re talking about was held in September.

    Nice journalism there; always remember to check dates!

    I can tell Ron Paul is going to win because they’re trying to smear and marginalize him. But it isn’t working, he just keeps climbing in the polls and raising more money and drawing larger crowds.

    That’s what makes the neocon establishment — and its fake Beltway “libertarians” like James Joyner — very nervous.

    We’re coming for you, James! And we have pitchforks. I’m speaking figuratively, naturally.

  22. CD says:

    His constituents are so mad, they keep re-electing him? Gee, that’s an interesting observation. You must have him mixed up with fellow Texan George Bush. Most disgruntled republicans I know are flocking to Paul, and running away from Bush. Isn’t that what you mean?

    The poll is old and you didn’t point out that you had to have voted republican in the past to participate. Why are you bringing this up now?

  23. Raymond says:

    Hey, James Joyner, you scumbag! You’re pulling some old old poll and try to take Dr. Paul down? You snake! Your days are numbered, neo-cons!

  24. CD says:

    Please be civil like the man we represent. Ron Paul is kind and respectful. Argue the facts.

  25. Curtis says:

    I left this page up while I ate dinner and came back to a port scan attack. Might want to check that out.

  26. Dani Trees says:

    Seriously, I was at the Texas Straw — which was over 2 1/2 months ago! I couldn’t vote – why? B/c the TX GOP restricted WHO could vote – you had to be a delegate or voted in previous primaries – etc. So – yes, given he had a TON of support there – many of us could not vote.
    Suggestion for a story: Ron Paul has WON the MAJORITY OF STRAW POLLS NATIONWIDE! Hello?

  27. James Yates says:

    Really do you not have anything better than news that is a little over six weeks old? But keep digging maybe you will get a few of us to look the other way.

  28. Michael says:

    Come on James, doesn’t baiting Ron Paul supporters get old at some point?

    Not yet, obviously, as I’m still laughing at them, but theoretically it will get old at some point.

  29. Christopher says:

    Ron Paul is a kook. A certifiable KOOK!

  30. Joe says:

    Oh really?…”Ron Paul in trouble”????? This Texas straw poll was rigged! The Texas GOP restricted who voted. Go to the You tube and check out that Ron Paul had the most supporters in the street! Keep it up Jack! You only make me work harder! Thanks for the pump of adrenalin!

  31. Ben Muniz says:

    Re: “whereas Paul is a Libertarian who happens to align himself with the GOP out of convenience.”

    Dr. Joyner, I see on your website that you have a Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Alabama. Based on your studies of the subject, do you think that “Mr. Conservative” Sen. Barry Goldwater and “Mr. Republican” Sen. Robert A. Taft also were Libertarians who happened to align themselves with the GOP out of convenience? Because Ron Paul’s policies have much in common with those 2 men. Ron Paul was proud to point that out when I heard him speak at the meeting of the Robert A. Taft Club back on October 11th in Arlington, VA.

    For the record, fact-checking of Ron Paul’s bio on the House of reps. website shows that, prior to this campaign, he has run for office as a Republican 13 times, and as a Libertarian once (when he ran for President). And he ran as a Republican 7 times before that Libertarian campaign. Since then he’s run 6 times as a Republican. BTW, he’s 10-2 in congressional elections, all run as a Republican.

  32. Clayton says:

    I was at the Texas Straw Poll (ran the Ron Paul booth). Believe me when I tell you the establishment did not want us there. From the very onset, the rules were made to hurt Ron Paul. The line up of speakers were all anti-Paul and extremely, extremely, extremely pro-war. The point of every speaker was “You must elect someone who will invade other countries or your children will have their heads cut off by islamofascists while they sleep”.

    Duncan Hunter was at the straw poll the whole time shaking hands. Kudos to him.

    Ron Paul supporters made up more than half of the attendees at the straw poll. We were simply not eligible to vote. Every delegate we had had 2 non-voting guests that paid $50 to attend just to show support for Ron Paul. We had dozens of people outside on top of that.

    For those not familiar with TX politics, the republican establishment runs candidates against Ron Paul for congress every term. They are running one as we speak.

    So if you think that Ron Paul not winning the Texas straw poll is a bad thing, you do not understand how it works. The fact that he got 17% of establishment republicans to vote for him is simply incredible.

    Oh, they were not going to allow Thompson to be in the vote until the last minute even though he had not declared. Another attack against Paul.

  33. DF Robichaux says:

    The GOP is a big tent.
    The Democratic Party is a big tent.
    Both have socialist and libertarians, which are on the opposite sides of the ideological scale.
    Interventionist foreign or domestic policies advocated by government are socialist by nature.

    The following are the front runners and their ideological track record.

    Democratic Party:
    Hillary Clinton, Socialist
    Barack Obama, Socialist
    John Edwards, Socialist

    Rudy Guiliani, Socialist
    Ron Paul, Libertarian
    Mitt Romney, Socialist
    Mike Huckebee, Socialist

    In a nation where 6 out of 10 planks of the Communist Manifesto have been fulfilled, some people are blinded to those espousing personal liberty or responsibility. Furthermore these people and groups are usually depended on government for their sustenance or to further their agendas which degrade the liberty and well being of their fellow Americans.

  34. Joe Lawson says:

    Ummmmm…..I was at the Texas Straw Poll – just a couple things to note: First, the average Texas Republican could not vote for Ron Paul in the straw poll because you had to be a state delegate to a prior Texas State Convention or National Convention and guess who the folks were – Bushies. In addition, there were at least a hundred delegates who paid their fee to the Straw Poll that were Ron Paul supporters that were refused entry to the event because the tricky and sneaky leadership in the Texas GOP advertised the start time to be confusing. If you attended the actual convention you could see that Ron Paul support was overwhelming, but those Texans could not vote because of the controlling rules issued by the GOP state party – just go to youtube and click on Ron Paul Texas Straw poll to see the crowd for Ron Paul

  35. Brock says:

    “Ron Paul is a kook. A certifiable KOOK!”

    Polly want a cracker?

    See I can be an idiot just like the anti-Paul spammers. Do I hear role-reversal?

  36. Scott Harmon says:

    Mr. Joyner:

    This kind of disinformation is really pathetic. You are working on the Internet and you cite information from months ago–just to get a headline? Perhaps you are living in the Stone Age?

    Well, I guess the liberal, phony Republicans inside the Beltway are just getting nervous, so this does not surprise me. Tell me, are you inside or outside the Beltway?

  37. Marc says:

    I guess you can’t blame people for smearing Ron Paul. If you watched FOX news every day, they’d have you “terror-fied” of Muslims living in caves too. And the latest broadcasts paint us supporters as home grown terrorists just for supporting Ron Paul. The only guy who is actually honest and wants to restore our liberty. It’s really about fear, and a lot of the GOP is playing on these fears to get votes.

    But lets just state a fact to put this neo fascist talk in perspective. More people die in bath tubs in the US every year then all the terrorist killings in the entire world combined. FOX should be warning people about bath tubs because they are a bigger threat to our lives than terrorists.

    Get past your fear, change is good and much needed right now in this country. I mean Giuliani supports torture. Do we need someone who supports what the communists and people like Saddam Hussein did to his people? Is this good for our image? Is it moral and right? We need to do the right thing for once. Educate yourself and support Ron Paul.

  38. Christopher says:


    anti-Paul spammers? I am not one of them. seriously. u must have sen me here before posting. I am a conservative.

    I just have to look at any issue Ron supports. Let’s tae the gold standard. Thats a great way for the ecoomy to collapse! Dr. Paul will do just fine bartering for his medical services. The rest of us will have to live in caves.

    The guy is a KOOK! You guys keep yelling that the sky is falling and will hit our heads sometime in the near future. Just keep screaming it and it will always seem true. Meanwhile I will enjoy this great economy and making money along with 300 million others.

  39. SubVet says:


    Ralph Nader endorses Ron Paul…

  40. RL says:

    Christopher, I think you are misinformed about what Ron Paul supports and proposes. Regarding the gold standard: He just wants to allow competing currencies so that the Federal Reserve gets some competition.

    Please do not rely on 2nd hand information. See the details for yourself, e.g. at

  41. gao xia en says:

    I just sent Ron Paul another hundred dollars because of your stupid smear tactics. We got your number, neo-carpetbaggers.

  42. Darryl Schmitz says:

    Ron Paul is in a win-win situation regardless of what happens in his congressional race or the presidential race. If he ascends to the presidency, we will all benefit from his allegiance to the Constitution and keen understanding of sound monetary policies that will pull us out of what is surely a national death spiral dive. If we choose to elect a president who continues with business as usual, we will essentially have to suffer the consequences that will surely come soon. Dr. Paul, on the other hand, will have made his best pitch, offered us a solution, but barring that will be able to either resume his contributions as representative or retire with the knowledge that he has capped an honorable career with an honorably-run campaign for the ultimate position of public service.
    I hope that at election time we decide that we’re not through with Ron Paul just yet. 🙂

  43. Boyd says:

    I agree, Michael. These posts are always good for a laugh. I’m still giggling.

  44. Chris says:

    Great article….

    For a laugh anyways…. 🙂

    Go Ron Paul!

  45. Joe Sihn says:

    Just found this analysis showing that Ron Paul is crushing it online versus all the other candidates. sweet!

  46. Francis Baken says:

    Don’t count Chris Peden out.

    Remember that when Paul was first elected he ran against Bob Gammage. It was supposed to be an easy win for Gammage but Paul beat him. The Democrats were shocked. They just were not paying attention and got beat by a grass roots on-the-ground campaign. The same kind of campaign Peden has been running.

    Peden may not have raised a lot of money in the past but that can change. Rumors are that it already has. The stronger Paul is thought to be running for president the more likely Peden is to raise money.

    It’s interesting to see how the Ron Paul supporters who know little or nothing about Paul’s Congressional district think that his “national support” means that he has a huge following in his district. That’s not the case.

    Paul can be beat by Peden.