It is no secret that Ron Paul has a loyal and motivated base of supporters. They can be called upon to do everything vital to a Presidential campaign from knocking on doors to calling potential voters to most importantly donating cash. There is a phrase among Paul supporters that claims there is no such thing as a former Paul supporter. The idea being that while there is a chunk of the GOP primary electorate that bounces around almost weekly to the latest frontrunner or un-Romney candidate, Paul is slowly building a rock solid base that currently ranges from 10-15%. That base has allowed him to get commercials on the air in the early primary states of Iowa and New Hampshire. Getting on the air gives Paul access to a key demographic that previously he has failed to attract, namely elderly voters.
In most polls Paul is neck and neck with the frontrunners among voters 18-35 but then is trounced with voters over 50 and especially over 65 where he garners almost no support. Older Republican voters whose primary news sources are Fox News, Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck have largely bought into their characterization of Paul which is very simply a kook with a few good ideas. So when you hear political pundits quietly say that it is not quite time for a candidate like Paul yet, they are politely saying that 5-10 years down the road when the electorate has shifted more and more away from tv and radio the tricks that are currently capping Paul’s support at 10-15% will no longer work.
The importance of a rock solid base will become apparent as the results of the first early primaries push the cash of the GOP establishment herd in the direction of the winners. No matter the result of Paul’s finish he will be guaranteed a steady flow of cash to get him through the entire primary season. While a top three finish may attract support from those forced to drop out of the race by disappointing showings in Iowa or New Hampshire.
The election will likely lose the two weakest candidates in the next two months because they run out of campaign cash. Right now that would be Santorum and Huntsman. The first 2-3 primaries will take out two additional candidates from the Cain, Perry, Gingrich and Bachman group. The strongest two of the four along with Paul will be left to battle Romney into late February by which time the nomination will be decided on Super Tuesday.
About the Author: Robert is an educator that lives in Southeastern Wisconsin. He has studied and taught political science for over 20 years.