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Ron Paul, yes, Ron Paul wins another straw poll; grass-roots surge for the Republican?

Ron Paul

Another big win for Republican Rep. Ron Paul of Texas today. A runaway win, too.

Paul easily captured the straw poll at a regional Republican Leadership Conference in New Orleans, picking up nearly twice as many votes (612) as the second place finisher, former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman (382).

Another Republican representative, Michele Bachmann, came in third with 191 votes, and business executive Herman Cain was fourth with 104 votes. No one else topped 100 votes.

Paul also beat out Mitt Romney, Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich, Tim Pawlenty and Rick Santorum, among others.

Coming after Paul's widely hailed performance at last Monday's first major GOP debate in New Hampshire (scroll down for that story), Paul's latest win (he also won the straw poll at last winter's CPAC conference) will likely energize his already-energized supporters as signs that their man is gaining grass-roots strength among likely Republican primary voters.Ron Paul looks happy after his recent successes

Straw polls, of course, are as lasting as, well, straw. They mean absolutely nothing about winning actual delegates to the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., in August 2012.

However, they do serve to call weekend media attention to a successful candidate. And, Paul's supporters hope, cause them to look more into Paul's libertarian small government, antiwar, anti-foreign-military-involvement stances, which drew him significant applause during Monday's debate.

Ticket readers will recall that someone named Romney won the big-time Ames Straw Poll in Iowa in July 2007.

The Iowa Republican Party has convinced many in the slow-news summer days that what is actually its traditional July fundraiser somehow matters on the scale of campaign import.

Candidates spend more than $1 million to ship in busloads of supporters, buy them tickets and food and try to pack the ballot boxes on a humid Saturday.

However, in 2007 another former governor, Mike Huckabee, who finished second in the summer straw poll, came along to derail Romney and actually win the Iowa caucuses six months later. Romney has said he will not compete in Ames this time around.

But in the early days of primary campaigns like this, straw polls and real polls are the only actual measurement of a candidate's possible strength among party voters. Paul has not done so well recently in independent professional polls, which Paul supporters dispute and denounce as biased.

Seriously, who among us has ever been asked if he/she supports the 76-year-old Air Force veteran, former OB/GYN and 11-term congressman from southeastern Texas' 14th District?

But straw poll wins do succeed in gaining candidates much-coveted media attention and are then cited by supporters as proof of their candidate's credibility.


Ron Paul easily wins GOP New Hampshire debate

Ron Paul calls fellow Texan Rick Perry 'very much the status quo'

Ron Paul sees the political mainstream ' swimming' over to him now

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photo: Shannon Stapleton / Reuters (Paul and Romney, June 13); Richard Shiro / Associated Press (a happy Paul).

Comments () | Archives (65)

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You cannot keep a good man down. RON PAUL 2012

Constitutionally, legislatively, and morally, Ron Paul has no equal. His 22 year voting record speaks for itself.
Mr. Paul has not survived in politics for 22 years and maintain the ethics and morality he has by being anything other than stellar.
If You refute the above comment, then I please invite You to listen to him speak about key issues. It is amazing how well he comes across because he doesn’t have to remember lies like other politicians. He understands what is happening in the world and knows how to apply the basic principles of liberty to achieve the real change that America so desperately deserves.
American to American we are all on the same team. So I present Mr. Ron Paul as my Candidate for 2011 and invite anybody to meaningfully and respectfully debate why he is not the best for American and its people in 2012.
Ron Paul = A real change, not for special interest, but for America’s Interests!
Thank You for Your time
Ron Paul 2012

America is waking up

I like how the CNN poll gave Ron Paul a 0%, yet he's been winning all the straw polls. Interesting

Ron Paul 2012!

Thanks LA Times for posting this...everybody take notice...their is a good virus going around and his name is Ron Paul!

Can he do any better?

Congrats Romney on your 74 votes, looks like Ron Paul is the favourite now.

Ron Paul 2012!!! Wake up! Lets take America back from the Elite and bring our brave men and women home!!!! Secure our borders!!!

Who here thinks Romney is skipping these polls because he knows he will lose them to Ron Paul?

Though it is true that a straw poll doesn't mean a great deal - many articles (not this one) quickly discount the win by Paul as meaningless - especially since 'he doesn't have a chance to win.'

Another comment I saw elsewhere stresses that (some of) THE OTHER CANDIDATES OBVIOUSLY TRIED TO WIN... and didn't.

The real story someone needs to seriously sit down and write is 'why are Paul's supporters SO passionate?'

Thank you for the fair coverage.
Good to see some real journalism, not the spin of the some others.

"Seriously, who among us has ever been asked if he/she supports the 76-year-old Air Force veteran, former OB/GYN and 11-term congressman from southeastern Texas' 14th District?"

If you do you research on that man, you will ask yourself why you did´nt know him earlier ;-) He is a modern day prophet.

For Liberty, real change in 2012, Ron Paul!

I am starting to like the LA times blog for having actual far coverage of Ron Paul. Bravo. It will pay off.

We can't afford to keep playing the political game. Ron Paul is the only candidate willing to have the conversation we need to have. It's not all about ideology, it's about getting real with ourselves and using common sense and logic to deal with our problems.


In the Magellan Strategies poll out Friday, Ron Paul tied for second in New Hampshire. Only the 'anti-Romney' role is competitive right now, and we need him to win that first, then he'll shine next to Romney. I mean, SRSLY?

Thanks for the article.

Awesome Article :) Thank You author

Ron Paul 2012

I hope America is finally waking up after dealing with Obama! Ron Paul is a person with integrity, a true american that we can all be proud is our president!

The Ron Paul grassroots is playing to win. They learned a lot in the last four years. Look how they're organizing for the Ames straw poll, keeping the momentum rolling. This is on top of the RP campaign's efforts.

The guy in the video ran against Pelosi last year.

Congratulations to this lovely man. Ron Paul is the only presidential candidate who has never been, and will never be 'owned' by special interests. He's the only one I trust. I won't get fooled again.

The Wall Street/Ivy League establishment -- which can tolerate either Obama or a corporate Republican such as Mitt Romney, because they know both will play along with them -- is blanching with fear because Ron Paul doesn't play that game. As a progressive, populist Democrat, I heartily disagree with much of what he believes in, but I do respect the integrity of his convictions...and it's fun to see the GOP elite quaking in its boots over his victories.

"Ron Paul is one of the outstanding leaders fighting for a stronger national defense. As a former Air Force officer, he knows well the needs of our armed forces, and he always puts them first. We need to keep him fighting for our country."
-Ronald Reagan

"Seriously, who among us has ever been asked if he/she supports the 76-year-old Air Force veteran, former OB/GYN and 11-term congressman from southeastern Texas' 14th District?"

The Corporatist LA Times will continue to denigrate anyone who will stand for the citizens of America and support the Corporate choice for President. I think that this time around shouting "Hope" and "Change" will require someone who has shown just that. Not Obama. Ron Paul is the only chance America has at this point. Otherwise we will have complete anarchy and a bloody revolution.

Ron Paul 2012 -the change we really wanted !! If you don't love this man you don't know him yet. Do your homework America !! This is our last chance !!!

He's the best, no doubt. Best of luck!


Thank you for loving America and Defending the Constitution when so many others in Washington have forgotten to keep their oaths of office.

And thank you LA TIMES too.

Ron Paul won today!
Whatever way the media tries to spin it, this was a grassroots effort by individuals who LOVE RON PAUL!
We the People won today, along with Ron.

The GOP better wake up & realize that Ron Paul is the only candidate who can take on Obamao. If anyone else is nominated, people will stay away from the polls in droves, just like they did for McInsane.

The message of LIBERTY is one that ALL can EMBRACE!!!!!!!!!!

Thank you for posting a positive article for Ron Paul. The media just cuts him at the knees every chance they get. Thank you again


One question: Why do people who don't believe in government try so hard to become part of the government? -Answer: To DESTROY government. So unless you are an anarchist, why vote for them?

Ron Paul is the best chance America has to regain our footing after the debacles of Clinton, Bush and Obozo. Please continue to report on this man, who towers above the rest of the field in ethics, ideas and integrity. I fear for the Republic if we elect someone lesser. Ron Paul in 2012!

Thank you, Los Angeles Times and Andrew Malcolm, for FINALLY giving Ron Paul the much-coveted media attention he deserves. This was a great article, and something similar should have been seen on both CNN and Fox News today. Ron Paul 2012!

Stop the Wars!

The Ron Paul Wing of the Republican Party, that is the Jeffersonian-Constitutional Wing of the Republican Party, is where the Republican Party SHOULD be. Ron Paul is the only Republican who can defeat Obama.

Front Runner Ron Paul !

a Seven Nation Army couldn't hold Ron Paul's ideas back

Keep in mind that, beyond actual Ron Paul supporters, these conferences are attended primarily by inherently political people, usually real, small-government conservatives. It doesn't at all surprise me to see people like Paul and Bachmann do consistently better than wishy-washy, populist, "compassionate conservatives" or neocons like Romney and co due to the nature of the attendees, regardless if they actually came to support any one candidate.

I'm not a stiff like Romney
Not a dolt like Perry
Not a nut like Bachmann
I'm a biker visionary

Yeah, darlin'
Gonna make my case now
Once I figure out what to say
Gonna ride straight to the White House
Gonna save the day

The wingnuts think I'm squishy
I kissed up to Obama
So I'll campaign as a grown-up
I'll eschew their psychodrama

Yeah, darlin'
Gonna make my case now
I think I figured out what to say
Gonna ride straight to the White House
Gonna save the day

Like a true Utah child
I was born
Born to be mild
Guess I'll play the nice guy
Till the day I die
Born to be mild
Born to be mild

It is fair to say that candidates can stack these straw poll events, which causes some pundits and media to disregard the results as meaningless, but it is rather obvious that the candidates who fare poorly are either lacking enthusiastic support, money, or both, so these straw polls do mean something.

I think it also fair to say that Ron Paul has some serious momentum on his side, not just from straw polls but in terms of the general consensus of the population, which is moving in his direction on many issues.

Four years ago, other candidates literally laughed at Ron Paul when he talked economics. Now, they try to sound like him to the best of their abilities. Four years ago, other candidates got angry when Ron Paul suggested maybe wars were not such a great idea for a variety of reasons. Now, they either respectfully listen to his views or they even try to imply that they kind of, sort of, maybe agree with him, perhaps. They can see that the public's views are going Ron Paul's way and they are adjusting their messages accordingly.

But why support a Ron Paul impersonator when you can support Ron Paul?

After all, Ron Paul has been consistently saying the same things for decades and making accurate predictions on all fronts, from monetary policy to fiscal policy to foreign policy. Ron Paul predicted the real estate crisis and resulting recession in a speech on the floor of the House of Representatives almost seven years before it happened. He accurately described what would happen and why.

Hopefully, people will judge the candidates on substance and not style. Ron Paul is not central casting's idea of a presidential figure. He isn't as much of a smooth talker as the others. His mind works faster than his mouth can keep up with sometimes. But notice also that he almost always gives his speeches off the top of his head. He knows what he believes and doesn't need it written beforehand.

But the real beauty of Ron Paul is that he can win the war of ideas even without winning the nomination or the election. What we've seen this year has proven that. Nevertheless, a debate between Barack Obama and Ron Paul would sure be worth the price of admission.

Ron Paul is Americas best hope. He is right up there with the founding fathers if you ask me.

If you play the game of politics anymore, you're going to come off as a phoney. Everyone else does that and you can see right through them. Ron Paul doesn't have to because he tells the truth and explains how and why liberty can heal many of this country's wounds. Ron Paul is real. Ya Gotta Believe!

I suspect that the reason MSM always says he doesn't have a chance is because they know something the average person doesn't. Like the votes are rigged? First he has to make it through all the MSM pundits, then through cheating grandma who burns the primary votes to secure her Medicare, and then through the same mafia that got JFK killed and us into the Vietnam, Iraq and Afghan war. Come on people lets take off our naive glasses here. Seriously, who really thinks this mafia we call our government that rigs everything else and lies to American's wouldn't stuff the voting box? I'm not even a democracy kind of guy because I hate majorities because of majority tyranny, but seriously I doubt we will take back the government from a voting machine people. I wish all the best intentioned people well trying and hoping, but I think if I were you guys I'd kind of consider that it may be pointless since the whole thing is 98% likely a farce and fabrication. Truly what kind of idiot would believe anything the government sponsors including public voting? The best part of Ron Paul is that somehow he just keeps talking and waking people up. The worst is that there isn't a snowballs chance in hell that he can win and its not because people don't support him, its because the mafia doesn't. I'll still give him a worthless vote if he makes in on the ballot, but I don't expect much considering we are run by bastards, thieves, and thugs.

Yes, he went nowhere four years ago, he has some good points on the Fed, Greenspan and Bernanke, convinced me of that, but his foreign policy is totally unrealistic.

If you are against crony capitalism vote for the establishment candidate.
If you are for the common man and his liberty vote Ron Paul!!

Yay. This article comments are pro-Ron Paul. I read all other articles that tell the event and I read the comments and I was a little ticked off when there were ALOT of stupid "status quo/socialists/neo-cons" say that Ron Paul.
-Doesn't have a chance/Zero chance of winning (umm what makes you say that)?
-He's too old (umm the Pope is in his 80's and he rules over a billion people)
-His policies are too extreme/scary (yeah. Following the constitution is extreme and scary)
-He has bad public speaking skills and is not appealing. (O.K. he may studder a bit but the MAIN goal of a president is not to look good with your voice/words, you need substance and the ability to walk the walk. Dr. Paul has that on his voting record. He has INTEGRITY.)
What ticks me off the most is when they said that the straw poll was a fluke and it means nothing because the "Paulbots/Paultards infiltrated to the poll". There were so many boos when Ron Paul was the winner. I bet you if any other candidate was the winner, the media and the establishment would be shining over that. Man we got a lot of work to do. We need to wake more people up and convince that Ron Paul is the REAL DEAL. Majority of Americans are still in sheeple status. We need to work really really hard if we want Ron Paul to make it in the primaries and in the general election. Iowa is coming up and it is filled with LOTS of social conservatives. We need to make a huge spark in the state so then we can gain momentum. Remember: WE ARE STILL THE MINORITY.

Yes, this is all inside baseball for political junkies, but it is a major shocker that Paul ran away with this straw poll without the help of paid, bused in "supporters" like Romney did previously. The GOP didn't even know what hit it. They've been so wrapped up in their own comfortably dirty tricks for so long they forgot to look up and take notice. The world has changed, glorious leaders. Your time is up.

Thanks Andrew for your continued objective coverage of the Ron Paul campaign's continuing successes.

I do take exception to this comment: "Paul has not done so well recently in independent professional polls..." On the contrary, he has polled as high as second place in several national and New Hampshire polls already, much better than his showings four years ago.

Ron Paul has earned my trust. Unlike the typical politician, his record has proven he is a man of principle. He has reignited the fire in the hearts of a growing number of Americans who understand the true nature of the dangers our country faces.

With impending economic collapse, endless wars, sexual assault when traveling and an expanding police state we need a President who respects the Constitution and the rights of all citizens.

Ron Paul is my President!

Wow. I've said some mean things to you, Andrew, but this is a very nice piece you've written. Thank you for that.

We only want our candidate to be understood. Ron Paul is incredibly hard to explain in 30-second blurbs. It's an uphill battle, but I think the average Ron Paul supporter (as well as Ron Paul himself) would prefer that you understand his message, and have the Doc not win it in 2012, than to have him win by being trendy, or some media darling like Romney or Palin. This whole thing is more about the message itself, than it is about the one we trust enough to carry it.

Ron Earnest Paul for the Presidency of the United States in 2012.

Can the author please provide reference(s) to the cited "independent professional polls?"

(AM responds: Click on POLLS in the word cloud to the right.)

2012 GOP Front runner Ron Paul is the true voice of the everyday, average American.

He is first and foremost, a once-in-a-lifetime true, honest, brave, incorruptible and principled statesman that ever graced 21st Century American Politics..he is a force to be reckoned with in 2012 against Obama.

Ron Paul 2012!!!

Well actually the CNN ONLINE POLL was 81% for Ron PAUL, but CNN aired Paul as having 0% THE SAME NIGHT. WHY WOULD THEY LIE? SOUNDS LIKE Somebody doesn't want Paul as frontrunner??? Sounds like it to me. The poll had Paul at 81 % and all others were very low like Romney had 5%, Bachman was 10%, Cain was 20% and all others were 1% and I don't know why they keep putting Palin in there when she's not running at 8 %. That was the REAL POLL!! PAUL AT THE TOP. Sounds like the controlled media doesn't like the sound of FREEDOM that Paul rings????

Ron Pauls the man !

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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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