Ron Paul’s lead in the Iowa polls is a mirage which the veteran congressman will not be able to carry over to the caucuses in two weeks’ time, according to Simon Conway, one of the state’s top conservative talk radio voices.
Paul’s support among actual Republican caucus goers is more like 19 percent, rather than the 23 or 24 percent he is getting in surveys, Conway tells Newsmax in an exclusive interview.
“I just don’t buy it,” he said. “I simply do not believe Ron Paul is leading among people who are going to vote in the Iowa caucuses.”
And even if Paul does manage to squeak out victory there, he will be one-and-done, said Conway. “There is no way he is going to win the nomination. He said in my studio three times that he would not, as president, have given the kill order against Osama bin Laden because Pakistan is a sovereign nation.
“Voters aren’t going to buy that. The Obama campaign would just replay that video over and over again along with scenes of the president saying I took him down.”
Conway has become one of Iowa’s most influential voices in the run-up to the caucuses. He was even featured in a major New York Times
article last week which said appearing on his WHO-AM show has become “obligatory” for GOP candidates.
Conway refused to predict the winner of the Jan. 3 caucuses, saying the vote often comes down to the candidate that the average voter would most like to “kick back and have a beer with.”
“Iowa is not done in terms of making its mind up. There are big numbers of people who are still undecided among candidates. It is too early to tell and that is why it is too early to predict.
“You’ve got Bachmann on the move, Perry is on the move and even Santorum is on the move,” he added. “No one has been here longer or worked harder than Santorum. Bachmann’s great strength is retail politics, that’s why she is late for so many media events. And Rick Perry is going to be very comfortable on his 44-city tour."
He said all three are benefitting from Newt Gingrich’s new-found support beginning to erode, but suggests that hard campaigning could bring Gingrich supporters back.
“It’s not because of the things he has done in his past, but because he wasn’t running as a candidate at all. He was doing nothing between debates and then scoring hit after hit after hit on the debates and suddenly he finds himself at the top of the polls.”
Conway was born in London and came to the United States in 2001. He only landed his job on WHO in April, but has quickly made his mark. He said one thing that caucus goers have made their minds up about is the identity of their second choices. “They are waiting for somebody to light their fire and, if their fire doesn’t get lit, they’re going to go to their fallback position.”
But whoever wins the nomination still has an uphill battle to beat Barack Obama and get to the White House, said Conway. “You are a fool if you think that just coming out with the Republican nomination means that the president is defeated.
"Whatever you think of Obama as a president, he is an amazing candidate. That man really knows how to run and he’s going to have $1 billion. It’s a tall order for anybody to take down this president electorally.
“The smart money, right now, would be on Obama being re-elected,” Conway said. “I hate that, by the way. This is a crucial election and I really think that would place the republic at risk, but it’s more likely than not.”
Conway said none of the major candidates is perfect, but – with the exception of Paul – any would have a chance to beat Obama.
“Romney’s very presidential, he’s got great economic experience, he absolutely made Obama look foolish on the economy, but the Democrats are going to want to talk about healthcare if it’s Romney.
“If you look at Newt, he is really smart. He will run rings around the president. I love how he is on the record that if Obama will not agree to seven Lincoln/Douglass debates, his schedule will be determined by the White House. He is going to see where the president’s going and show up four hours later. It’s incredibly smart because all the media is going to be there.
“Rick Perry’s running the 13th-largest economy in the world and in a time of recession and major downturn with the country losing jobs, his state has created a million and he is going to take the credit for it. He is very personable if he doesn’t do too much in the suit and tie.
“Michele Bachmann has been unbelievably consistent on a whole range of issues. Despite what the media want to say, she’s a very sharp cookie.
“Santorum has a record of doing business across the aisle that will play well nationally. The big thing they will try to hit him on is his social issues. I asked him if his campaign made a mistake focusing on the social issues when, of course, the election is always going to be about the economy.
“He made a good argument that social issues were about the economy because if we don’t stop with all these single parents that the taxpayer has to pay the bill for, we are just in a vicious cycle that is going to continue. That was a very valid point.”
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