Ron Paul Demonstrates Unreliability of Political Polling

For those following the presidential campaign of Texas Congressman Ron Paul there is little questioning his status as a top-tier candidate.  Evidence supporting this conclusion is constantly growing, and after this past week’s events even the main stream media is beginning to recognize what Paul’s supporters have known for quite some time.


The historic week began for Paul this previous Monday, when the ten-term Congressman raised over $4.3 million in contributions in a single twenty-four hour period.  The donations, collected entirely through the campaign’s website, came from over 35,000 supporters, 17,000 of which donated to the campaign for the first time. 


This display of support would then be echoed six days later at a rally held at Philadelphia’s Independence Mall that drew over 5,000 supporters in a celebration centered on Veteran’s Day and the candidate known for his uncompromising support of Constitutional principles and the ideas of liberty upon which the country was founded.


And these two astonishing events are only the most recent accolades for Paul, who is commonly referred to as a long shot by popular media outlets.  His supporters have, for example, formed over 1,100 meetup groups throughout the country with over 61,000 volunteers.  Paul’s YouTube channel has over 36,000 subscribers, and his videos have generated an amazing 6 million views.  And Paul’s website, according to Alexa statistics, receives more hits than all of the other candidates for President combined – in both parties.


All of this support, however, does not seem to translate to success in the national telephone polls so commonly cited in discussions of campaign success.  And while Paul has been climbing in these polls, he still stands around 5 or 6%, placing him fifth behind candidates more frequently touted by the media.


But these figures might have more to do with the way polls are taken than the actual amount of supporters Paul has amassed throughout the country.  The polls, for example, generally exclude cellular telephone numbers, discounting the young and the generally affluent segments of the population.


The polls also tend to focus solely on people who have voted in previous party primaries, which would exclude moderates who don’t affiliate themselves with a particular party, as well as those who haven’t voted in the past or tend to vote independent.


There is no questioning at this point that Ron Paul is a candidate with a legitimate chance of securing the Republican Party nomination, regardless of his relatively low polling figures.  To understand this one simply needs to look beyond these figures to find the strongest example of grassroots support ever demonstrated in US politics. 


And for those unwilling to see the signs behind the polls, there may be a big surprise awaiting them when the early primary states begin to release data representing a Ron Paul popularity already visible to those willing to look.