That Hillary vs. Ron Paul Rasmussen Poll: What Does It Mean ?

There’s been much blogosphere commentary on an article earlier this week from Rasmussen Reports showing that Hillary Clinton only leads Ron Paul by ten percentage points in the most recent, and first to my knowledge, head-to-head matchup poll between them.

Rasmussen contends that the poll says more about Clinton than it does about Paul:

First, because just about everyone in the United States has an opinion of Hillary Clinton. She has been a major player on the national and international stage for 15 years. Half the country has a favorable opinion of her and half holds the opposite view, but all have an opinion. Our most recent survey results show that nearly 60% of voters have a strongly held opinion about the New York Senator and former First Lady.

As for Ron Paul, 42% don’t know enough about him to have an opinion one way or the other. He’s one of 435 Congressman whose life is way below the radar screen for most Americans. Still, his presence in the GOP Presidential Debates has raised his profile a bit–26% now offer a favorable opinion and 32% say the opposite. But, only 16% have a strongly held opinion about Paul (7% Very Favorable, 9% Very Unfavorable).

A look at the crosstabs demonstrates that it is attitudes towards Clinton that are driving the numbers in this polling match-up. Among all voters, Clinton attracts 48% support. Among the voters who have never heard of Ron Paul or don’t know enough to have an opinion, guess what. Clinton attracts the exact same total–48% of the vote. So whether or not people have heard of Ron Paul as the challenger, support for Clinton doesn’t change.

Among the 51% who have heard of Ron Paul but don’t have a Very Favorable opinion of him, Clinton attracts 49% of the vote.

The only noticeable difference to be found is among that very small slice of the electorate that has a Very Favorable opinion of Paul. Seven percent (7%) of the nation’s voters fit this description and they prefer the Texas Congressman over the Democratic frontrunner by a 70% to 27% margin.

Interestingly, Clinton’s numbers against Paul aren’t all that different from the numbers she gets against any of the other Republican candidates. But that isn’t all that surprising considering that we’re still at an early point in the race, especially when it comes to talking about head-to-head matchups. Of all the Presidential candidates on either side of aisle, Clinton comes into the race with the most baggage and the highest negatives. So, when you put her up against a generic Republican, there’s going to be a certain number of people who are going to pick the other guy.

But that doesn’t mean much of anything at this point in the race, and, contrary to what some Paul supporters might think, it doesn’t mean that he has any better of a chance to beat her than any of the other Republican candidates, or any chance at all (take note — I don’t think any Republican is going to be able to win in 2008, so who ends up at the top of the ticket in `08 almost doesn’t matter).

So, for you Hillary-haters out there, of which I am proudly one, this isn’t time to start celebrating. That may not come until January 20, 2017.

  • Mark Twine

    The usual dose of Ron Paul slander from this organization.

  • Doug Mataconis


    Can you provide an argument to disprove the hypothesis ?

  • rob

    If any of the Dems want to beat Sen. Clinton, they need to read the following commentary. It is a sad day when a conservative has to tell us how to win a primary.

  • Wulf

    The point of those poll numbers is that this race is all about Hillary. You vote for her or you vote against her. Who that other candidate is just doesn’t much matter – especially this far out, as Doug notes.

    I keep wondering when it will finally dawn on Democrat voters that if there is a single person in this nation who is a more divisive political personality than Dick Cheney and George Bush, it would be Hillary Clinton.

    Yes, more than Al Gore, more than Don Rumsfeld, more than Alberto Gonzalez, more than Ted Kennedy. And more than Bush/Cheney were at the time of the 2000 election.

    Regardless of her qualifications, and even assuming you agreed with her proposals, I think her election would be the worst thing for domestic politics in our lifetimes. The Democrats could do a lot better than to let her be the face of their party for the next 4-8 years. It is with a very pained grimace that I watch the buildup to the Democratic primaries.

  • Doug Mataconis


    Did you see any of last night’s debate ?

    I don’t know if they just don’t have the guts to go after her, or if they’re incapable of attacking her because they realize she is exactly what the modern Democratic Party is all about, but there’s nobody in the Demo field that’s capable of really laying a glove on her.

    Obama tries, but, notwithstanding his $$$, he’s still too much of a neophyte to really be able to survive a knock-down drag-out fight in the lion’s den with the Clinton machine.

  • gmason

    Hi Doug.

    Hi everyone else that may have stumbled in here.

    For any newbies let me bring you up to speed on Doug Mataconis and by extention the “Liberty Papers”.

    Let us first start with a statement of fact, the truth of which is obvious to a seven year old that is only slightly paying attention:

    Ron Paul is the epitome of Liberty in our lifetimes, Liberty personified, an extremely rare politician in the true Liberty and We the People mold. Ron Paul is a tiny lifeboat of Liberty being tossed about in a very hostile sea of business as usual anti-Liberty politicos and all of their anti-Liberty enablers/support structure.

    Liberty is singularly the best state of being for the people to gain/maintain because it is singularly the most powerful impediment to those that seek aggregated power for their schemes to aggregate further power.

    Again, Ron Paul is the epitome of Liberty in our lifetimes. More importantly, he has a chance, not a sure thing chance or an easy chance but a chance with the help of ALL that understand and cherish Liberty, to win the most powerful office in the world. Chances to strike a major blow for Liberty and against the vast resources of the anti-Liberty, aggregated power crowd are very rare and must be made the most of when they arise. Ron Paul is that very rare chance and is making the line between the True Liberty supporters and the pretenders very plain. This is NOT standard politics as usual this time around, those that do not see that and behave accordingly are NOT standing FOR Liberty.

    Back to Doug Mataconis(“Liberty Papers”).

    Doug claims he supports Ron Paul(Liberty). Doug is the primary/near exclusive blogger re: Ron Paul at the “Liberty Papers”. Doug says he is helping as he writes nothing but NEGATIVE pieces about Ron Paul/Ron Paul’s campaign. Big disconnect there, WHY?

    The answer is easy and obvious. If you know almost nothing about Ron Paul you probably at least know he would end the Iraq War/aggressive GWOT and taking sides in regional squabbles and ancient religious blood feuds that are properly none of our concern and damaging to the security of the USA.

    Here is Doug Mataconis’ view on the same topic from his bio here at the “Liberty Papers”:

    “All I know is that the evidence is clear that Western Civilization is in a fight for its own survival right now. Following the naive foreign policy advocated by the Libertarian Party and its pacifist allies is, quite frankly, a prescription for suicide.”

    Doug’s view stated above is directly opposite to the Ron Paul(Liberty) position on the same issue. Doug is well aware of this fact.

    I have seen many commentors on various topics, including Ron Paul, claiming to be for something or neutral(which is not true) because they believe they are cleverly raising their credibility to attack that something which they are in reality against.

    That is Doug Mataconis. He is against Ron Paul(Liberty). He has no credibility because of the use of such tactics. Doug is the epitome of the “Fox in the Liberty Hen House”.

    Because the “Liberty Papers” allows Doug Mataconis to be their primary speaker on matters Ron Paul(Liberty) and Doug is anti-Ron Paul(Liberty) then the “Liberty Papers” is to Liberty what the Patriot Act is to Patriotism. As such the “Liberty Papers” functions as a mere Liberty “Busy Box”. You remember “Busy Boxes”, it is that childs toy with knobs, dials, steering wheel, etc. but moving the same does nothing. The child can move the steering wheel all they want but it has no affect on which direction the car in which the child is riding takes.

    Doug/”Liberty Papers” harsh words for you?Negative Criticism? Think of the above as Doug’s form of support. Constant Negative Criticism=Support in Doug’s stated view. By that measure the above is a major statement of my support for Doug Mataconis and the “Liberty Papers”.

  • Doug Mataconis


    Thanks for taking a post about how weak Hillary Clinton really is, and turning it into an opportunity for you to rant, off topic about the fact that I don’t agree with you 100%

  • Henry

    Yes, Gmason,

    thank you so much for taking a post about how weak Hillary Clinton really is, and turning it into the best summation of Mataconis and “the Liberty Papers” rant I have read to date.


    There are plenty of Paul supporters out there who speak positively of Paul while also acknowledging that they disagree with some of his ideas. They, however, value liberty prosperity, peace, honest friendship and understand that this is our finest moment to even come close to achieving those goals.

    Henry Williamson

  • gmason

    Hello Doug,

    I forgot to add that following your “stated” rationale, when called out on your faux support for Ron Paul, is you are singling out RP for the negative treatment because you “expect more from him” in addition to your constant criticism=support.

    So in like fashion and following your stated logic, I am critical of you Doug because “I expect more from you” and of course “constant negative criticism” = Support.

    I can’t imagine you would take offense to me adhering to your rules.

    As to your weak dodge below:


    Thanks for taking a post about how weak Hillary Clinton really is, and turning it into an opportunity for you to rant, off topic about the fact that I don’t agree with you 100%”

    If you wish to waste your time with more nonsense tactics in the future knock yourself out, it achieves naught with me.

    Your transparent “Hillary weakness” premise to take another dig at Ron Paul is just that, transparent. I am on your real topic and no I will not discuss your smoke screen/static premise.

    Did you write the below Doug?

    “But that doesn’t mean much of anything at this point in the race, and, contrary to what some Paul supporters might think, it doesn’t mean that he has any better of a chance to beat her than any of the other Republican candidates, or any chance at all (take note — I don’t think any Republican is going to be able to win in 2008, so who ends up at the top of the ticket in `08 almost doesn’t matter).”

    I thought you did. More Ron Paul “Support” Doug?

    As to your “rant” and “the fact that I don’t agree with you 100%” tactic-

    Distracting attention from me plainly stating you are a fraud regarding your “support” of Ron Paul by use of the demonizing tactic of labeling plain but uncomfortable truth as a “rant” may work with some, good luck with that.

    “don’t agree with me 100%”? You do not know 100% percent of my views nor I 100% of your views, nor do I care and most importantly we both know your statement is an irrelevent distraction from the issue at hand.

    The issue/disagreement is I support Ron Paul, you do not and you are despicably pretending to support him in an attempt to more effectively derail his campaign for POTUS.

    As I have stated before, I support Liberty and the very important component of Liberty, allowing/insisting that ALL voices are heard and trust that fully informed reason will prevail for the best. Therefore Doug, I am 100% FOR you being free to state your opinion and support your point of view. I am against your authoritarian view that you know better than most/all so it is OK to trick people into going where you wish them to go. If your position has the most merit then it can stand the full light of day. Your hiding your real position does not speak well for your personal assessment as to the merits of your position.

    What I am against and you are for Doug is the ends justifys the means, ALL is fair in politics and winning is ALL that matters. You think it is OK to lie about your true motives/views as a means to advance your agenda. I do NOT! That mindset is largely responsible for getting our nation to the sorry state we unfortunately find ourselves.

    Doug, just clearly state your TRUE position and make your case for your position. Maybe the majority will agree maybe not but win or lose supporting honest, clear and plain speaking discourse on all matters, particularly public policy, helps the system and helps us all. Perpetuating dirty pool politics is contributing to the problem.

    We disagree on Ron Paul, no problem. We disagree on the middle east, no problem. We disagree on anything, no problem as long as you clearly/truthfully state your position and argument.

    You not being forthright with the people that read your posts, big problem. You trying to label/lump individuals into demonized groups to silence them, big problem. You practicing/perpetuating win at all costs politics, big problem. You attempting to obfuscate your true agenda, big problem.

  • gmason

    Hi Henry and thank you.

    It is obvious you are a man of goodwill and great integrity. This is the typical profile of the typical person drawn to Ron Paul for obvious reasons, integrity, goodwill, honesty and NOT business as usual(read anti-integrity, etc.) politics are the hallmark qualitities of Ron Paul.

    The fact that real honesty and integrity are typical qualities of Ron Paul supporters and also that most are not very experienced in the political(power) arena has a drawback, by their honest good nature, they tend to think all people also play by the rules, want what is best for all and can be taken at face value/taken at their word.

    What a much better world it would be if that was predominately true among those in the politics game. Sadly that is not true and many involved in politics are quite deficient in integrity(many criminally so) and are very skillfull in the arts of deception and dirty tricks. Unfortunate as this reality is it is reality nonetheless and Ron Paul supporters are wise to be on the lookout for these wolves in sheeps clothing. Our struggle is uphill enough without being taken in by the schemes of crafty deceivers that seek to short circuit our cause for Liberty.

  • George

    Wow, with friends like these…

    Doug, you miss the obvious in your attempt to smear Ron Paul and suggest that a small deficit against Hillary means anything at this point.

    Hillary Clinton has name recognition in Paris, France, Ron Paul doesn’t have any in Paris, Illinois.

    The fact that Ron Paul, a relative nobody at this stage in the game is doing so insanely well against her is a miracle.

    Ron Paul is the only Republican who has a chance to win next term – if you would get out of his way and stop doing your best to derail him. I can’t tell if you are just a man who needs a lot of Prozac or if you are deliberately trying to hurt Ron Paul, but your continual berating of the man is quite damaging. Hence, so is your credibility.

    I totally agree with gmason. Saying you are one thing and then writing something completely opposite leads one to suspect your stability Doug. The fact that you write for the Liberty Papers sadly reflects quite negatively on this publication as well. I have tried this publication now about 8 times. Every article I have seen has been about as negative as one can be about Ron Paul’s chances, ignoring all successes and playing up any glimpse of hope that he may not do well.

    I will have to add you to the list of Red State, and others that seem to have decided to make a living writing about Ron Paul. I am tired of being used as a Ron Paul supporter to be drawn to your website just to discover I have to try to defend Ron Paul.

    So, sigh, one last attempt to impart some intelligence into this “hit” piece. Ron Paul is still mostly unknown. His message of freedom and LIBERTY – that thing you are supposed to be promoting here but do not – is spreading. If you would all stop trying to tell lie to the public and telling them that it is useless to vote for Ron Paul because he can’t win, (he can by the way and several articles have spelled out exactly why and how) you might notice that Ron Paul’s campaign is growing exponentially. Just this month alone, Ron Paul took in 2 1/2 times more money than Huckabee raised in the last three months.

    As soon as the Paul message is heard by enough people, Hillary will be toast. What anti-war supporter would rather go with a person who promises war for at least another six years in a country that has nothing to do with anything, vs. a man who promises to pull out the troops in one year when he gets into office?

    What senior will vote for Hillary when they realize that she only intends to inflate more and make their static SS checks nearly worthless by the time she gets out of office vs. a man who has promised to save money by stopping the drive for world domination, bring troops home and spend it on the people who have it coming to him. Has Hillary written a bill that would make all SS checks tax free? No. Ron Paul has. Has Hillary written a bill that would make SS money untouchable by the Congress for other projects? No. Ron Paul has. Does Hillary even know what inflation is or how to stop it? Probably not, and she has no way to stop it. All of her programs can only increase inflation and send those on a fixed income into the poor house where she will promise to give them a crumb when they get there.

    Ron Paul on the other hand has a plan to return to the rule of law and stop the inflating of the money supply so that your savings will have some worth to them and so that the poor will not be stolen from.

    People just need to learn the Ron Paul message – and to do that they need a little time. No, Ron Paul will probably not win an election against Hillary if it were held tomorrow. But it is not going to be held tomorrow Doug. That is where you make your worst logical error in the whole piece – believing that conditions today can forecast conditions in the future.

    This is goodbye so-called liberty papers. I am done with you. For those of you that would like a much better place to go try they are true lovers of liberty over there.

  • Chris Kachouroff

    Who here critiquing Mr. Mataconis (this means you George, gmason, et al.) has, pray tell, done anything for Ron Paul?? In what states? And, what have you done? Hmmmmm??

    There have been several times where Mr. Mataconis has PRAISED–that’s right folks–PRAISED Con. Ron Paul for his debate responses.

    That there is discussion on a negative article should make your arguments for Paul stronger rather than attacking Mataconis. He never said he agreed with the author did he?

    Because you folks attended publik skool, let me go ahead and answer Mr. Mataconis’s query about to provide an argument to disprove the hypothesis.

    Major Premise: Clinton’s numbers against Paul aren’t all that different from the numbers she gets against any of the other Republican candidates.

    Doug’s Conclusion: You can’t tell from the numbers about Paul’s match up against Hillary.

    Doug’s implied conclusion: Damn I want Ron Paul to win but if I allow myself to believe he can, I might be let down and I’ll get into a funk and retreat from the world more disgruntled than I am now or any others in this blog.

    Argument: You can’t use that poll to reach the stated conclusion because we’re unaware of the sampling. The poll may not take into account the unexpected voters who turn out for Paul but didn’t before for any other candidate. Therefore the conclusion reached may be speculation and can’t be determined by a probability. Of course, this is circular because I just said what Doug concluded: The poll numbers don’t mean anything and you should not count your chickens before they hatch. (Let me add, circular reasoning is not a logical fallacy for some of you non logic types. It is acceptable. After all one must start somewhere in the circle.)

  • oilnwater

    gmason hit this nail right on the head.

    multiple posters in the past, including myself, have pointed out mataconis’ obvious paranoia of islamofascism. his obvious desire to continue the GWOT. his obvious need to post about any scaremongering regarding Ron Paul whatsoever. doug mataconis has not donated to the campaign, yet he’s a “supporter.” doug mataconis is a veritable shitheap.

    everything this tarbaby posts is so highly suspect that it might as well be covered in glowstick juice.

  • Ron’s Polls

    There is more details at Ron Paul vs. Clinton on

  • Chris Kachouroff

    oilnwater… what have you done for Ron Paul my friend?

  • Akston

    None of us supports everything Ron Paul has ever said, written, or done. I certainly don’t. I have differences with Ron Paul on abortion, and how big to keep the wall of separation between church and state (any level of state). It sounds like Doug disagrees with Paul on non-interventionalism and unpopular people and organizations associating themselves with Dr. Paul without renouncement. My disagreements are not the same as Doug’s, which are not the same as gmason’s.

    One thing that has been very hard for me to learn in life has been that most human interactions are not binary. There are no “good guys” or “bad guys”. I might hold a pure philosophy as a goal, but most times, only parts of it can be achieved. How many parts I achieve of that perfect goal – and how important those parts are – has become my true measure. Compromise sucks, but I can’t find a better method.

    The bottom line for me is this: I support FAR MORE of Ron Paul’s positions than I disagree with, by a large margin. And the areas of agreement are more important issues to me than the areas of disagreement. That’s why I support Ron Paul.

    Maybe Doug just can’t get comfortable with the sore thumb issues from his perspective. Maybe Doug’s style about many issues, even issues he supports, is that nothing is ever “good enough”. Maybe Doug is a covert neocon operative intent on undermining the vast and growing support for Ron Paul. Occam’s razor suggests that the former explanations are more likely than the latter, but all are possible.

    I’ll reiterate for full disclosure: I support Ron Paul. I have contributed money to his campaign. I am in a Meetup group of his. I changed registration from Independent to Republican to vote for him. I am participating in the Republican primary to help him win.

    I am doing all these highly uncharacteristic things because I found a candidate with whom I agree on 98% of the issues. You will see very few posts from me on those last 2%.

  • Doug Mataconis

    It sounds like Doug disagrees with Paul on non-interventionalism and unpopular people and organizations associating themselves with Dr. Paul without renouncement.

    I also disagree with him on immigration and international trade, and I find Milton Friedman’s monetary theories more convincing than the Neo-Austrian theories that Paul talks about.

  • Akston

    I also disagree with him on immigration and international trade, and I find Milton Friedman’s monetary theories more convincing than the Neo-Austrian theories that Paul talks about.

    Fair enough. Each of these areas of disagreement with the Paul platform have occupied their own set of threads, and I’m sure that will continue.

    I believe you’ve already posted that, on balance, you’ll still be voting for Paul unless a better option comes along, is that still correct?

    There are many issues out there, and libertarian-leaning candidates like Paul draw fans from a huge variety of camps precisely because he advocates freedoms which honor those differences. The common ground he offers is to stay out of the way of these groups as they live their lives in America. I think there is much common ground we tend to forget as we go further and further into the areas where we actually disagree.

    While I also have differences with Paul on the issues I referenced, the differences I have with almost every other candidate are profound. When I look into the speeches, writings, votes, policies, and consistency of the other candidates, the best response I can give is indifference. The worst responses are contempt and dread.

    This one is a statist offering treats paid for by other people’s money, if only we’ll all give up a few more of our freedoms. That one sounds like a used-car salesperson, telling me anything I like to hear in order to get me aboard, but has no record of doing any of the glorious and conflicting things promised. The other one expresses a clear desire to run the world, laughing with arrogant enjoyment of impending power, whether we vote support or not. Still others appear nearly indifferent.

    For me, none of these options are even remotely as appealing as the core agreement I find with Ron Paul and his amazing demonstration of acting consistently with those principles for decades, even when he was the only one in the room standing for them.

  • mitch

    When Hillary self-destructed in the debate over illegals being given driver’s licenses, many failed to see real issue. It wasn’t about her stance on illegals getting drivers licences, it was about her inability to defend herself in a debate. As Edwards, Dodd and Obama threw knock-out punch after knock-out punch. Hillary failed to deflect them. She only had pat answers to expected questions in her bag. She did not wxpect this question to arise, and she was ill prepared to answer it. She tried side-stepping, but was finally forced to answer. She first said no, than 2 minutes later said yes (as pointed out by Edwards). She attempted to deflect by pointing to President Bush. She claimed it was because of his failed immigration policies. Unfortunately for her, she voted yes to President Bush’s proposed immigration reform to the senate. She failde to garner enough support to pass it, and should her lack of leadership. Her attempt at damage control the following day failed again. She cried and try to blame she was bullied by a bunch of boys. Hillary is incapable of winning any debate that has questions that she hasn’t been completely prepared for. She looked like William Jennings Bryan on the stand. Completely dazed and on the verge of a total melt down. Guilliani may only lead Clinton by 2% points in the latest Rasmussen poll, but after any debate with Guilliani, she will only lose more points.

  • Hugh Haynsworth

    Mr. Mataconis,

    For a Paul supporter, you sure sound Anti-Paul. On the other hand the Rasmussen Reports poll should give hope to all Republicans, and bring FEAR to all Democratic supporters. Ron Paul strikes me as a combination old school isolationist Republican, and a good Libertarian. I don’t think he has a chance to win the primary, but I think he is educating Americans the way Goldwater did when he ran for President. Heck, Goldwater helped to create the modern Republican Party. Paul could well be creating either a new Republican Party or the creation of a legitimate Libertarian Party.

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  • quidid0

    Ron Paul would kick hillary’s often penetratrated ass.