Three Myths About Ron Paul in Iowa

Friday, 23 Dec 2011 05:39 PM

By Doug Wead

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Two recent polls show contradictory results for the upcoming Iowa caucuses.

A December 22, 2011 Rasmussen poll declared Mitt Romney the likely winner. But a day earlier a Public Policy Poll said that Ron Paul would win,

Here are three myths regarding Ron Paul and the Iowa caucuses:

Myth number one: The Iowa caucuses don’t matter.

Keep in mind the following. Since 1972, when the Iowa caucuses became the first in the nation event for choosing the respective party presidential nominees, only one candidate has won the presidency without winning either the contest in Iowa or the primary in New Hampshire. And when a candidate has won both, that candidate has always won their party’s nomination.

Candidates who won their party’s nomination and won both the Iowa Caucus and the New Hampshire Primary include:

1976 Jimmy Carter (D)
1976 Gerald Ford (R)
1980 Jimmy Carter (D)
1984 Ronald Reagan (R)
1992 George H. W. Bush (R)
1996 Bill Clinton (D)
2000 Al Gore (D)
2004 John Kerry (D)
2004 George W. Bush (R)

Candidates who won their party’s nomination and won only Iowa:

1984 Walter Mondale (D)
2000 George W. Bush (R)
2008 Barack Obama (D)

Candidates who won their party’s nomination and won only New Hampshire:

1980 Ronald Reagan (R)
1988 Michael Dukakis (D)
1988 George H. W. Bush (R)
2008 John McCain (R)

Candidates who eventually won their party’s nomination but lost in both Iowa and New Hampshire:

1992 Bill Clinton (D)
1972 George McGovern (R)

Why does this happen? What is the power of these two events?

There are a number of theories. One, because the choices made in Iowa and New Hampshire are a barometer of what people will do elsewhere.

While people in California may answer a Rasmussen poll about who they like, the people of Iowa will actually vote first.

The result can be surprising and Iowa opens a window on that process. If a campaign template works in Iowa and New Hampshire it tends to work elsewhere, with regional tweaks. If a campaign team, including its get out the vote operation, works well in Iowa and New Hampshire, it only gets better for other contests.

Think of the difference between an army that has seen action and an army that is new to war.

Another reason is that people tend to be more influenced by the choices of their fellow citizens than they are by national television pundits, who have obvious marching orders from executives and owners.

Myth two: If Ron Paul wins it will only be because the vote was split.

That is true of all the candidates, including former Gov. Mitt Romney.

Iowa is a state loaded with evangelical Christians and four of the candidates are born again Christians while another is a very devout and socially conservative Catholic.

If Romney, a Mormon, cannot win in a contest where the evangelicals divide the vote, how can he win nationwide, where polls show 48 percent of all Americans are born again Christians?

Myth number three: If Ron Paul wins it won't change the fact that he is unelectable.

The Governor of Iowa, Terry Branstad, has already begun apologizing for the possible Ron Paul win, saying that it won't really mean anything, that the second place finisher will be the frontrunner, because Ron Paul is unelectable.

This is certainly understandable, given the inaccurate and biased national coverage of this political contest. Ron Paul will certainly shake things up and the establishment — including television executives and their holding companies — have been beating this drum for years.

Ron Paul threatens their interest-free loans. Most people are so convinced that Paul cannot win that even his own supporters now agree.

A recent Washington Post/ABC poll showed that most Americans believe Mitt Romney has the best chance to defeat Barack Obama.

But if Ron Paul is truly unelectable why do Democrat pundits attack him? And why do other Democrat leaning television networks pan him?

Paul is just as deadly to Obama as Romney or Gingrich and he draws more independents than either one of them.

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