Ron Paul supporters have been vindicated!
The Pew Research Center reported that Rep. Ron Paul is among the Republican presidential candidates least covered by the media—something his fans have been complaining about for a while.
The report found that Paul appears as the primary news maker in less than two-percent of all election stories. He's not getting much of the limelight in the debates either.
But Paul isn't letting this blackout steal his thunder; in fact, he is making it his thunder.
After the news broke, he launched another money bomb fundraising campaign on October 19th, called "Black this Out". As of three o'clock that afternoon, he'd raised more than a million bucks. (There's even a picture of the proud candidate showing off the tally.) The money bomb concluded five days later and the campaign reported a whopping $2.75 million in donations during that time, with an average donor handing over $61.92.
What he needs to win: More support
Paul won the straw poll at the Conservative Political Action Conference back in April (he won it in 2010, too) and he won the Republican Party's September straw poll in California with a whopping 44.9 percent, but since then it's been a bit downhill for the Libertarian. His supporters couldn't love him any harder if they tried, but he's going to need more of them voting in order to win.
His website lists the myriad of "coalitions" supporting his run, making it look like almost everyone is for Ron Paul! His coalitions include Catholics for Ron Paul, Homeschoolers for Ron Paul, Jews for Ron Paul, Greek-Americans for Ron Paul and even Celebrities for Ron Paul. If you click on any coalition, it leads you to a Facebook fan page, many with very little activity, creating a mirage-like effect. That impression is reinforced by the revelation on Facebook that Jews, Catholics, Protestants, Accountants, Bikers, Attorneys, Food and Beverage Servers, and Gun Owners for Ron Paul all share the same address as the Ron Paul 2012 Presidential Campaign Committee. The campaign did not return requests for comment.
He's got enough time, barely
A Harris poll taken in mid-September had Herman Cain at at five percent nationally and Ron Paul just ahead of him at seven percent. But just a few weeks later, Cain surged ahead and became a front runner, so a quick turn around isn't impossible, even for a candidate seemingly left in the dust.
Henry Brady, Dean of the Goldman School of Public Policy at University of California, Berkeley said such a comeback is unlikely. Brady described Paul as a "particular Ayn Rand kind of Libertarian." He's a social conservative, but not quite socially conservative enough for many Republicans. Yet his conservative stance on "less government" is more conservative than mainstream Republicans.
His deficit plan suggests severe spending cuts by eliminating several government cabinets, including the Departments of Energy and Education. And take abortion, for example. He thinks it's morally wrong, but he doesn't believe the federal government should be policing it. Brady said on this point, Paul and the religious Right aren't on the same page either.
"There's just limited appeal for some of his positions," Brady explained, "He hasn't been a governor like Perry or Romney. He hasn't really been a businessman like Cain and he doesn't quite have the charisma of Bachmann."
So how can he win?
According to Brady, it's not so much what Paul can do at this point, it's what has to happen to the field of candidates. New Hampshire may present Paul's only real hope, as it has more Libertarian (or Libertarian-like) voters, Brady said. In a recent poll, he was holding 12 percent in New Hampshire in a close race for third with rival Herman Cain who has 13 percent, but they both trail Mitt Romney who boasts a whopping 40 percent. The early primaries are coming up soon and the best Paul has is an often distant third in early polling states like Florida and Iowa. None the less, Ron Paul is there.
Paul is spending real money in states like New Hampshire, Louisiana, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada and Minnesota where he has actual campaign offices, and according to the Federal Election Commission numbers, the majority of his campaign donations have come in from California, Texas, Florida and New York so far — all key states to win. He's raised $12.6 million since the end of September and he's the third-most funded candidate so far among his Republican competitors.
In Iowa, an early primary state, he's raised the most money out of all Republican candidates so far. In New Hampshire, he holds a solid second place among his Republican contenders with $82,000 raised, though Mitt Romney is in first place with more than double that amount — nearly $217,000.
So, will Paul's money be enough? Well, he's certainly spending it. The Texas Congressman released his fourth TV ad in the last month. This one is TARP-themed and begin airing in Iowa and New Hampshire last week with smaller buys in other states as well. This follows his "Life" ad where he recounted witnessing a late-term abortion. The graphic campaign ad aired in early voting states like South Carolina and Iowa, sure to woo the social conservatives in those states.
Yet even with all this early-state ad spending, the latest polls show that he is one of the least-recognized candidates and is favored only slightly above Herman Cain. These numbers aren't looking good for the "champion of liberty," as he introduced himself in the recent Republican candidate debate in Las Vegas. A Public Policy Poll taken in Ohio last week showed Paul in 4th place with only seven percent of Republican primary voters, down from an earlier poll in August. This is what his polling numbers look like in most states — he ranks 3rd or lower and often carries a meager one-digit percentage of the vote.
In a poll conducted by Huffington Post and Patch, the majority of 190 politically-active Republicans polled in early and primary caucus states saw Paul as the least-electable out of several of the Republican contenders. Less than one-third of those surveyed in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Florida describe Paul in "positive terms."
With Cain and Romney far ahead of him, Paul has a lot of catching up to do.
Despite the outlook, his staunch supporters will still be fighting.