There are four categories of Ron Paul voters. The first category is made up of true Paul supporters. They vote for Paul because they truly believe in his platform. We don’t know how many true Paulian believers there are since they are disproportionally vocal, visible, and determined, a good set of characteristics for a candidate if he’s going to win. These characteristics present a challenge for pollsters since their high visibility may skew polling results. There is very little passion for the other Republican candidates, as least as I have seen.
The second category of voters is made up of people who detest the Republican establishment. They are fed up with the compromising, lies, defections, and the slow boat to Socialism that Republicans have sailed over the past 40 years. There’s the “Anybody but Obama” voter, but this category of Paul voter is “Anybody but a RINO” or a Romney. Sarah Palin is right. The GOP must be careful not to marginalize Ron Paul and his supporters. Not all Paul supporters are on the fringes.
The third category of voters identify with some of Paul’s positions that are usually espoused by liberals, especially his anti-war stance and his opposition to the National Defense Authorization Act. Keep in mind that Paul is pro-drug legalization, indifferent to state-mandated homosexual marriage, and supportive of Obama’s lifting of “Don’t Ask-Don’t Tell” for the military. These positions appeal to a large number of Independent voters and many so-called Progressives.
The Leftist magazine Mother Jones conducted some interesting interviews with Democrats who voted for Paul in Iowa. Here’s one:
Francis Thicke, an organic farmer from Fairfield, Iowa, who ran for secretary of agriculture on the state’s Democratic ticket in 2010, announced that he would caucus for Paul on Tuesday “to keep his voice for peace and his voice to reduce the military in the debate, because he will challenge the other Republican candidates.”
Then there’s the fourth category of voters. Iowa allows any registered Republican to vote in a caucus. This means that unregistered voters, so-called Progressives, and Democrats can vote in the caucuses if they register as a Republican early enough. I’ve read somewhere that this could be done on the night of the caucuses. If these people believed that in a general election, Paul would be the worst candidate for the Republicans to put up against Obama, they would want to see Paul run against the President in November.
Keep in mind that Obama does not have any primary opposition, so people are free to change their party identification several times if they so desire.
We’ll see how much legitimate support once we move into primary states. A win in Iowa is not the first step to the nomination. Mike Huckabee received 34 percent of the vote in Iowa. He beat Mitt Romney and John McCain who came in fourth. McCain won New Hampshire and went on to win the nomination. Paul has a long row to hoe to the nomination.