Ron Paul, Mitt Romney, And What Really Might Happen In Ames Tomorrowby Doug Mataconis
Some almost-on-the-scene insight from Reason Magazine’s David Weigel:
I’m in an airport waiting for my (much, much delayed) flight to Iowa checking the latest on the Ames Straw Poll. While I’d been told by the Ron Paul campaign that there wouldn’t be a big ticket buy, the Paul team sprung for 800 tickets (you need one in order to vote) that are quickly being snapped up by supporters. The cost: $28,000. That’s enough to guarantee another romp over McCain, obviously, but Paul will need more than a thousand voters to buy their own tickets in order to compete with the make-or-break efforts of Sam Brownback, Mike Huckabee and Tom Tancredo and last-scene-of-Peter-Weir’s-Gallipoli charge of Tommy Thompson.
Paul supporters aren’t exactly broadcasting confidence. Voterfraud.org is suing to get the votes counted on something other than (or in addition to) Diebold machines.
Some sum-ups from people already in (or taking less languid methods of transportation to) Iowa: Marc Ambinder.
Weigel also links to this from the New York Sun’s Ryan Sager:
Rep. Ron Paul: Mr. Paul’s online supporters have made Web-based polls of the Republican primary essentially meaningless, swarming sites like the Pajamas Media straw poll and giving their man a 2-to-1 margin of victory over his closest competitor. No scientific poll, however, has shown Mr. Paul registering better than 1% or 2%, and it’s unlikely they can adapt their cyber-tactics to the real world. Paulites are already calling voter fraud, but any low showing is likely to be legitimate
As Weigel reports, Sager is predicting that Paul will come in seventh place, behind Tom Tancredo, but ahead of John McCain, who isn’t actively participating in the straw poll.