ABC News’ Matthew Jaffe (@matthewbjaffe) reports:
Could Ron Paul really win the Ames straw poll this Saturday? Don’t bet against him.
While all eyes are focused on another Texan, some top Iowa pundits predict Paul will make some serious noise this weekend.
Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, holding court in the post-debate spin room last night, said, “I think that if there’s a low turnout, Ron Paul’s got the organization. He spent five years working on it. He should not be underestimated. That’s why I would say.”
One GOP operative here explained to ABC News why Paul could spring a surprise on Saturday.
“It’s nature vs. nurture. Bachmann is nature – she has the charisma, the energy, and people are going to vote for her, so she’s not organizing as much,” the source said. “Pawlenty is the nurture candidate – he’s got the organization. I’m an organizational guy – I think that can always make up for it. But Ron Paul has both nature and nurture – he has an exciting base and he’s been able to build on it with his organization.”
“I think if Paul wins it’s going to be symbolic,” the source continued. “We haven’t seen people like Romney and Perry here, so people might cast a symbolic vote and try to send a message to say, ‘He’s not going to win the nomination, but hey, I really like what Paul is saying.’”
That same GOP operative told me two weeks ago that Paul’s approach could resonate with voters because they saw him in Iowa four years ago talking about the nation’s looming economic and debt problems.
“I think that Paul’s team has a plan and they’re executing it flawlessly,” the source said at the time. “He’s got the credibility that even someone like Bachmann does not – because he’s been saying this for years and years in some of the same ballrooms he’s speaking in right now.”
When asked to pick a winner in Ames, two “in the know” people here in Iowa both told me that if they had to put money on someone, it’d be Paul.
Rick Perry might be getting all the headlines these days, but the smart money in the Hawkeye State says don’t mess with Paul.