A significant number of Ron Paul’s supporters are likely to exit the battlefield when the GOP nominating fight ends and not return for the general election. An exit poll of Michigan primary voters last week, for example, found that 35 percent of the Texas congressman’s supporters will not vote for another Republican, The Washington Post
“I just don’t see it,” Omer Rafi, a college student and owner of a polo equipment company in Woodbridge, Va., told the Post at a Paul rally. “The establishment, they marginalize not just Ron Paul but the supporters as well. They call us cultists and all sorts of names: ‘Paul-bots.’ ‘Obsessive.’ After treating us like that, I don’t know how they can feel like we are supposed to become obligated to these guys.”
Should Paul choose to run as an independent, Paul could greatly damage the eventual Republican nominee. A December Washington Post-ABC News poll showed he would siphon off votes and virtually guarantee an Obama victory, the Post reported.
However, some speculate that Paul’s relationship with Mitt Romney could lead to an endorsement of the former Massachusetts governor, a move that draws scorn from Paul supporters.
“I just can’t see him doing anything like that. Those two are about as far apart as you can think of,” Jeff Benninger, a freight courier from Annandale, Va., told the Post.
Regardless, other campaigns say some of Paul’s supporters can be won over and even the Obama campaign plans to make an effort.
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