Paul’s Miscalculation

Ron Paul seems to think his base is mainstream conservative Republicans.  His message to other social conservatives?  Drop out.  Paul’s third place Iowa finish and second place New Hampshire finish is giving him and his supporters a lot of hope.  But what Paul fails to realize is that social conservatives are often also pro-security and pro-life conservatives.  Ron Paul is not the anti-Romney that he thinks he is.  Paul would have a better chance if all his rivals including Romney dropped out of the race.

Seriously though, Paul has seen his support double in this election cycle.  However even with that doubling, no one is taking votes away from him.  Mitt Romney could have taken 50% in New Hampshire if Huntsman was out.  Santorum would have ran away with Iowa if Gingrich was gone.  If Gary Johnson dropped out of the race and ran as a thir…oh wait, he did already?  Hadn’t noticed.

The point is that Ron Paul has his support base, and he will have them even if he loses all 50 states.  They are that solidly for him.  On the other hand, people who are not Ron Paul supporters are not going to become Ron Paul supporters because their favorite candidate, second favorite candidate and third favorite candidate drop out.  When Huntsman drops out, his supporters will tend towards Romney, and the others can count on each others supporters as the anti-Romney EXCEPT Paul.

So what would happen if Ron Paul dropped out?  Honestly, his support would only drop to about 10%.  Where would his other 10% go?  I think many of them, the ones who have padded Paul’s numbers this time around, are devout Protestant Christians who are willing to sacrifice a socially conservative President for smaller government in the hands of their socially conservative governor or local governments.  They are constitutionalists, and Paul’s rhetoric appeals greatly to them, even if it means giving up a strong morality bully pulpit from the Whitehouse.  For the freedoms and decentralization, it is a sacrifice they are willing to make.

These supporters are very socially conservative.  Typically they homeschool, exercise their 2nd amendment rights, know what the founding fathers stood for and have read the constitution.  They represent Paul’s TEA Party support as well.  By and large, they don’t like Newt or Romney, but will settle for Newt if pressed.  They do like Santorum and Perry.

2 Responses

  1. You are partially correct, but not totally. Ron Paul’s support is a dedicated coalition of Pat Buchanan Traditionalist Conservatives, Libertarians, fiscally-conservative Independents and the anti-war Left.

    That being said, I have seen some so-called “mainstream” conservatives on the fence between Paul and Gingrich or Paul and Huntsman or even (but less so) Paul and Santorum. They adamantly hate Romney just like they hated McCain, but they don’t HATE Paul, even if they disagree with his foreign policy.

    During the NH primary CNN had SC voters dial their responses to all the speeches and Paul overall scored the highest, even though when he called for bringing the troops home now they dialed him into negative territory. After that they had the undecided voters raise their hands for each candidate who won them over, and Paul and Romney each gained 10 supporters (one was torn between Gingrich and Paul), Santorum and Newt each gained 3, Huntsman 2, and Perry gained zero.

    I’d say Hunstman’s followers split with moderates going to Romney and conservatives to Paul; Huntsman never had any social conservative supporters.

    I actually don’t get how people are on the fence between Paul and Gingrich, so I cannot predict that, except that if Gingrich drops out his support will be equally split between Paul, Romney and Santorum.

    As for Santorum, if he was to drop out last, Romney would get most votes, but Ron Paul would capture the Catholics who follow Church teachings on the Arab-Israeli conflict and Just War, and the anti-government Evangelical Homeschoolers.

    Even Glenn Beck says he’d vote for Ron Paul over Gingrich anyday.

  2. Coulter said she’d vote for Paul over Gingrich too. I chalk that up to campaign rhetoric that would all quickly be forgotten if it came down to Newt/Obama. People tend to say wacky things when they are in the bag for one candidate or another.

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