A Ron Paul Surprise In Iowa ?by Doug Mataconis
Patrick Ruffini is predicting that Ron Paul will place second in the non-binding straw poll to be held in Ames, Iowa in August:
You heard it here first.
He leads the second tier in cash-on-hand. He was able to get 1,200 people out to the Hy-Vee (has any candidate done something that big on their own, not at an RPI event?). His home base in Texas isnâ€™t that far of a drive, and his people are motivated enough to come in from out of state for him. And heâ€™s making a big push on his Web site, which for all intents and purposes, is his campaign.
Romney, given his dominant position organizationally in Iowa, should still win. Even with the rest of the top tier not participating, he wonâ€™t be able to let his guard down, lest he be ambushed by one of the second tier. Should Romney underperform against someone not even playing at Ames, or against someone not taken seriously, thatâ€™s a blow to his Iowa inevitability.
A few caveats are in order. First of all, Ruffini predictions don’t have a history of accuracy, especially when it comes to Ron Paul. Back in June, he made predictions about Paul’s second quarter fundraising that proved to be wildly inflated. Second, the straw poll itself hasn’t been a good historical indication of later success; in 1987, Pat Robertson got a lot of press when he won the poll over both VP Bush and Bob Dole but it was Bob Dole who won the Iowa Caucus six months later, and Bush who won the nomination. Finally, this years poll will not be a true test of the GOP field since two of the big-name candidates, McCain and Giuliani, will be skipping it entirely.
Yes, Ron Paul will be get alot of positive press if he does well in Ames, even more so if he embarrasses Romney, but don’t take that as indication of anything. There’s still a long way to go before the first votes are cast.