Opinion: Ron Paul supporters: Do NOT read this. Please!


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READERS’ WARNING: Supporters of Ron Paul should not read this item. Perusing the following paragraphs may cause dizziness, nausea, vomiting, disappointment and renewed anger at political polls, the mainstream media, all institutions holding financial power and anyone not terribly concerned about that mysterious planned highway across Texas that somehow threatens national security.

O.K., now that they’re gone to their chatrooms or one of their impressive 1,200 meet-up groups, for the rest of you some background: The Ron Paul Conspiracy has received more news coverage and made quite an impression online in recent months for its followers’ persistence, pervasiveness and, to put it politely, outspokenness in favor of their Republican candidate, the 72-year-old, 10-term Texas congressman with the libertarian ideals and the numerous books. He’s even been on the ‘Tonight Show with Jay Leno’ and this Sunday is scheduled for an hour-long grilling by Tim Russert on ‘Meet the Press.’


With fundraising persistence, dedication to ‘Dr. Paul’ and admirable political energy in recent days their growing numbers made a huge name for themselves by raising more than $6 million online (more than $18 million for the quarter, they say), a new one-day political record.

Yet these Paulites have always dismissed polls, hated them, even despised them. They have many reasons besides the fact that no polls have given Paul much chance of winning anything. Polls, some suggest, are fictitious summaries of the mainstream media designed to suppress the Ron Paul Revolution. Polls are fake because no Paulite can remember ever being phoned for a survey. Many Paul supporters are new to the political process, so not on voter rolls to be polled. And they mostly use cellphones, not landlines. So they’d be somehow under-represented.

They maintained this stand even when Ron Paul’s polling numbers in New Hampshire, for instance, increased geometrically from 2% to 4% to 8%, twice the support of better-known Fred Thompson.

Now, here’s the news that would drive Paul supporters berserk if any had kept reading down to here, which they haven’t: Ron Paul’s polling numbers are now plummeting. Yup, going down, down. Once, he got the money to afford TV advertising in the Granite State, his support as measured by these no-doubt fraudulent polls began crumbling.

The new CNN/WMUR New Hampshire Primary Poll out today shows Paul’s support falling from its high of 8% in early November to 7% at the start of December and 5% last weekend, when he had his big fundraising success. (The phone survey of 411 random, likely Republican primary voters was between Dec. 13 and 17.)

Of course, if Paul supporters believed in polls, they would point out that....

with a margin of error of +/- 5%, Paul could theoretically be at 10%. That also means, naturally, he could be at 0% too.

Belief in Paul’s ability to handle terrorism held steady at 3%, to handle the economy fell from 7% to 3% and to handle taxes from 9% to 5%. His support for handling illegal immigration was steady at 4%, to handle abortion up from 4% to 5% and his ability to address the Iraq war (he’s the only GOP candidate who favors withdrawal) was steady at 5%.


Now, in case anyone cares about the non-Paul candidates who have a chance of winning, Mitt Romney’s percentage jumped from 32% to 34% from the beginning to middle of December, with the endorsement of the Manchester Union-Leader and Boston Globe John McCain increased from 19% to 22%, Rudy Giuliani fell from 19% to 16% and Mike Huckabee went from 9% to 10%.

Thompson and Tom Tancredo, who will announce the end of his candidacy Thursday, according to an Associated Press report tonight, held steady at 1% support while California’s Congressman Duncan Hunter went from 0% to 1%.

On the poll’s Democratic side, 469 likely primary voters produced a margin of error of 5%. After some troubled weeks when her support faded from a high of 43% in September to 31% at the start of December, Hillary Clinton’s numbers surged back to 38%, while Barack Obama’s slipped somewhat from 30% to 26% and John Edwards from 16% to 14%.

Bill Richardson went from 7% to 8%, Dennis Kucinich from 3% to 2%, Joe Biden from 1% to 2% and Chris Dodd from 1% to 0%.

If they were still reading down to here which, of course, they’re not because they don’t believe in polls, Paul supporters would say that none of this matters because only real votes count come Jan. 8. And, you know what, on that they would be 100% right.

--Andrew Malcolm