Is the Ron Paul campaign stuck in second gear?
Since July, Rep. Ron Paul’s poll numbers have been hovering around 8 percent. That’s right where he was when he ran four years ago. And since the general election in 2008, the economy still remains the No. 1 issue on voter’s minds, according to ABC News polling. Paul was asked by ABC News back in August what he would specifically do on day one to create jobs. He pointed out the need to end the Federal Reserve, control the regulatory system and reform the tax code.
However, his message is still not resonating with voters. In the latest ABC News poll, only 8 percent of likely Republican voters mentioned Paul’s name as the one best to handle the economy. Rick Perry and Mitt Romney each topped the poll with 22 percent. In fact, in all of ABC News’ polls, there are no issues that Paul can claim as his own.
ABC News polling has also found that 27 percent of likely Republican voters viewed Paul unfavorably. A good portion of Paul’s libertarian views, including abolishing the income tax, returning to the gold standard and eliminating the United Nations, are considered impractical by the Republican party. And his views on eliminating the war on drugs and state regulation of abortions are considered out of the question.
The Congressman speaks his mind, and sometimes that hurts too. He remarked earlier this year that America doesn’t need FEMA and told a debate crowd that a dying man with no insurance should assume responsibility for himself.
Paul is finding that being the alternative candidate is not enough.
Paul is trying to tap into a more ticked-off electorate with his unorthodox views and possibly open the door to a third party run. But third party campaigns have historically fallen flat. Ross Perot finished off the 1992 election cycle with only 20 percent of the vote.
Ron Paul campaign spokesman Gary Howard did not immediately respond for comment.
Moneywise, the Paul campaign still manages to raise big bucks. He had raised $4.5 million as of June 30. And the campaign has launched three ads aimed at several early voting states, including one targeted to veterans. Paul has recently started highlighting his military experience to separate himself from his GOP rivals.
Despite the shortcomings, Paul still remains optimistic. Asked on Monday by Jon Stewart how he plans to grow his base, Paul said, “I believe we are on an explosion of interest.”