Friday, January 04, 2008

Rise of the Paulistas

News out of Iowa is not Mike Huckabee getting out the evangelical vote over Mitt Romney, or Barack Obama getting out the younger vote over Hillary Clinton -- despite one poor prediction to the contrary. No, the big result in last night's Iowa caucuses was something else.

Ron Paul got 10% of the Republican vote.

Paul has been consistently polling in the 1-3% range. When combined with the typical poll sampling errors of 5-6%, this means that his support was statistically consistent with minus 2%. The polls missed all those Paulistas out there, even though their presence was there for all to see in Paul's runaway fundraising. Paul got nearly triple the number of votes of Rudy Giuliani.

I had all but written off the libertarian wing of the Republican party in the last decade after Pat Buchanan showed poorer and poorer -- and even bolted (for a time). But now we know that 10% of the Republican vote goes for an unflinching philosophy of libertarianism -- including non-interventionism and opposition to the Iraq War.

The Paulista troop surge was tactically successful on the ground in Iowa. His good showing, along with such a heavily split field, shows why the Democrats will have two active candidates into March and the Republicans at least three heading into summer.

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