Ron Paul Wins Alabama Straw Poll

Despite all the attention paid to the meaningless Ames, Iowa straw poll, there has been almost zero coverage of the fact that Ron Paul dominated the Alabama straw poll Saturday, absolutely demolishing the competition:

    Paul 216
    Romney 14
    Hunter 10
    Thompson 9
    Giuliani 7
    Huckabee 6
    McCain 2
    Brownback 2
    Tancredo 0
    Cox 0

This is a stunning setback for Mike Huckabee, who is not only the only southerner in the field but coming up the momentum of his surprise number two showing in the meaningless Ames straw poll.

Now, granted, Alan Keyes won the last contested GOP straw poll in 1999, followed by Orrin Hatch, with eventual nominee George W. Bush coming in third. But Pat Robertson won the Iowa straw poll in 1987 and the press still pretends that contest is meaningful. Indeed, the winner in Ames has only gone on to win the nomination once. George H.W. Bush won the poll in 1979 and went on to lose the nomination to Ronald Reagan. Then, Bush lost the poll in 1987 (to Robertson) only to win the nomination. The other George Bush won in Ames in 1999, though, and also won the whole thing. So they’re 1 for 4!

Clearly, the MSM is discriminating against Alabama and Ron Paul in its coverage.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2008, Humor, , , , , ,
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. Hoodlumman says:

    If the RonPaulbots are smart enough to pick up the steaming sarcasm (50/50 chance), you may be in for a long ride in the comments section.

    On average, they have a response time of about two hours.

  2. Bithead says:

    I get the impression the joke has gone right by me.

    I’m curious… On what basis do you make the implication that anybody really cares about the Alabama straw poll, except a couple of hundred people in Alabama… if Iowa’s straw poll is insignificant, (and I agree they are) then what should we think of Alabama’s version of it?

    As to the different reactions, your point is noted. I do not, however, consider that this is a case of the mainstream media learning their lesson about who cares about what. I don’t recall it happening, previously, and on that basis I doubt that’s what’s happening now.

  3. James Joyner says:

    Mostly, the Iowa straw poll — despite being a worthless predictor — fits into the media’s script about the campaign and the Alabama straw poll doesn’t. Not only does the Iowa poll not generally pick the winner but all the major candidates skipped it this year except Romney, who actually garnered substantial coverage for his “win.”

    The Alabama poll is just as significant as Iowa’s and deserves equal time!

  4. Tlaloc says:

    This is a stunning setback for Mike Huckabee, who is not only the only southerner in the field

    wait… isn’t Fred a southerner? I thought he was from Texas.

  5. Nick says:

    Fred is from Tennessee so he is a Southerner. Now if we really want to call him a candidate, that’s a different debate. Newt is a Southerner but I wouldn’t call him a candidate either until he declares.

    Ron Paul is originally from Pittsburgh but has lived in the South ever since he went to Duke Medical School before he was stationed in Texas during the Vietnam War. I don’t know if that really makes him a Southerner in the true sense of the word. I bet they would just call him a carpetbagger if they really cared.

    I think Ron Paul won the Alabama and NH straw polls because he is the only GOP candidate with supporters that care enough to show up. It says a lot about how GOPers feel about their candidates this year, which isn’t much. What is there to be excited about, besides beating Hillary. That won’t happen until she is running directly against them and then they’ll just jump behind whomever is nominated.

  6. Michael says:

    I’m glad the first poster tipped me off about the sarcasm, because obviously, this poll is worthless, just like Ames and the half dozen other straw polls this season.

    Nick has a great point here, saying that most Republicans are simply not interested in the race at this point to show up and participate — with the exception of RonPaulers, who are in a Cult and have no choice but to show up.

  7. “I think Ron Paul won the Alabama and NH straw polls because he is the only GOP candidate with supporters that care enough to show up.”

    I was at the Alabama event and I concur. Romney had a few paid staffers (and supportive GOP officials there), but no one drove across the state to support him.

    The Ron Paul supporters paid their own way to drive hours to support their man. Many of them needed gas money or other financial assistance to participate. This was handled by local folks, and not financed by the Paul campaign.

    This doesn’t mean that Paul would win an Alabama primary right now. He wouldn’t, if for no other reason, his name recognition is far too low.

    What it did clearly indicate is that Ron Paul clearly dominates the grassroots in Alabama right now, and none of the other candidates seen to have grassroots support at all.

    On the southerner topic, I’m from Alabama, but have spent plenty of time in Paul’s district. He’s rural east Texan in style, which is southern enough for folks down here.

  8. BSR says:

    If the Ames straw poll is “meaningless” what the hell is Alabama’s?

  9. Grewgills says:

    Indeed, the winner in Ames has only gone on to win the nomination once.

    1979 Bush – Reagan
    1987 Robertson – Bush
    1995 Dole/Graham – Dole
    1999 Bush – Bush
    That, I believe makes them at least 1.5 out of 4, not that it much matters.

    Maybe the Alabama Straw Poll people need a better publicist so they can get their due coverage.

  10. Doug says:

    Granted, these straw polls don’t predict much, but you missed a bigger story than the Alabama poll: Huckabee, Tancredo, Paul, and Cox all showed up for a New Hampshire straw poll this weekend, and Ron Paul won 73% of the vote. I think any straw poll where the candidates themselves show up should carry at least a little weight.

    The biggest story to me in all these straw polls is that Giuliani has next to zero real world grassroots support. The only places Giuliani is the front-runner is in telephone polls of people who haven’t heard of most of the candidates, and in checks from wealthy donors.

  11. PaddyFatHands says:


    The largest problem with most policies domestic and foreign here is that they have been preframed and predetermined by special interest groups (complexes military-industrial, prison-industrial, pharmaceutical-industrial, etc.) Duh. These special interest machines run and feed themselves so it really doesn’t matter who is supposedly at the “wheel”: special interests drive policy makers, not the other way around unfortunately. The only solution I can think of is to bleed them dry (defund), which only a Ron Paul presidency would begin to do.

    Look, this country is much too large to be governed by a centralized federal plutocracy driven to appease its special interest overlords. Why should we be beholden to a minority group of priveledged power brokers who can’t even begin to represent the diversity that exists here?

    The solution is to decentralize through DEVOLUTION (via the UK model: see Scotland ‘97 for example).

    So let’s change the slogan: instead of the Ron Paul Revolution let’s have the RON PAUL DEVOLUTION!!!!

  12. KS Huffman says:

    This is not about the presonality cult of 1 Texas politician. This is about a group of excited,hopeful Americans who have the courage to go against the knee-jerk response to 9/11, Bush and his PNAC phonies war propaganda, the loss of our constitutional way, and the gluttonous tax and spend machine- we are doing it for our children to see freedom and prosperity instead of living in a terror driven police state with only service level jobs, in a country over-run with illegal aliens. This is a worldwide revolution for truth and power to control our destiny, instead of living for Bush’s cronies who keep increasing in riches and power. Bush is just a piece on the chessboard.

    Check out YouTube video Belgians for Ron Paul. They tell the story better.

  13. William says:

    Seriously… did those who cry “spam” ever think for a second that Ron Paul would get less online votes than he has myspace friends?

    Maybe the reason that Dr. Paul got so many responses is that his 56,000 friends on myspace ALL voted that Ron Paul won the debates??

  14. Jim says:

    The smarmy neocons just love to dismiss all the signs that Americans don’t want their system candidates.

    Their bungling policies got the GOP voted out of the Senate in 2006. The Republican Party needs neocons like a dog needs ticks.

    Ron Paul clearly has enormous grass roots appeal. He managed to get 81 percent in the Alabama straw poll and 73 percent in New Hampshire despite what amounts to a mainstream media blackout. Not one political section on CNN or Yahoo News or ABC news bothered to mention either of these victories.

    There are two big issues for the 2008 election: Illegal immigration and the war in Iraq. Ron Paul is the only candidate on the right side of both issues. Giuliani made New York a sanctuary city. Romney did nothing about illegals when governor of Massachusetts. Thompson is plan B for the neocons if Giuliani can’t get votes.

    We’ve got ten Republican candidates, and only one of them wants to get us out of the illegal and thoroughly fouled up war in Iraq.

    The Iraq War is an albatross around the neck of the Republican Party. A pro-war candidate stands absolutely no chance of winning. Just take a look at the 2006 election disaster for the GOP.

  15. Brian says:

    The Reason you should pay attention to Ron Paul is not because of what anyone tells you, or what his supporters might say to frighten you. You should pay attention because he’s addressing issues the other candidates won’t touch. No one wants to hear about our economy being run into the ground with short-sighted policy. No one wants to hear about the level of contempt the world has for our nation-building foreign policy. No one wants to acknowledge that there are fundamental flaws in our government, and only one man, on either side of our two headed coin, is willing to address these issues. If you people weren’t so closed minded to thinking outside your comfort zone, you would recognize the immediate need in our government for a set of policies that Ron Paul represents. I’m not a cult member. I am a believer in personal freedom . . . and when all of the dust settles, you will see that only one man stands for this in the presidential field . . . and that is this little old man named Ron Paul. He has my vote, because it is what our country needs.

  16. Michael says:

    The primary reason why we should ignore Ron Paul is his nutty supporters, which are a good indication of his platform. Reading some of the responses here will give you a taste of their nasty bile.

    If you oppose him, you’re said to be a “neo-con” “statist” or don’t love “liberty” etc, blah blah blah. Mix the insane conspiracy theories of Lyndon Larouche and the “destroy all of our enemies” intensity of the Scientology Cult and you’ve described Ron Paul supporters in a nutshell.

    Note to Brian: Look up “liberty” then “license” in the dictionary. There IS a difference, and you’re misusing the phrase “personal liberty.” What you mean is actually license, and that’s not a kind of freedom that we’re required to accept without question. In fact, we’d better not or we’ll have anarchy.

  17. Gulf Coast Bandit says:

    Well, dang. If I had but known there was a straw poll in my own state… no, I wouldn’t have driven 4+ hours to Tuscaloosa and paid $35 to cast a meaningless vote.