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Will Ron Paul Take Iowa?

Ron Paul's new ad airing in New Hampshire

Texas Congressman Ron Paul has confounded the Republican establishment by racing to the top of the pack in Iowa. Two polls out this morning show Paul either in second place behind Mitt Romney or tied in a statistical dead heat, leading New York Times’ columnist and statistician Nate Silver to place Paul within one percentage point of Romney.

Silver gives Romney a 42 percent chance of winning and Paul a 34 percent chance. A steady beat of mainstream Republicans have openly hoped Paul tanks in Iowa.

The latest is Marc Thiessen, a former speechwriter for President George W. Bush. He sounds gobsmacked by the poll results in a Washington Post column today titled, “Seriously, Iowa? Ron Paul?”

“These are not conservative positions. They are not libertarian positions. They are nutty positions,” Thiessen writes of Paul’s campaign platform.

Elsewhere, syndicated conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer has called Paul “not electable”. Wall Street Journal editorial board member Dorothy Rabinowitz blasted Paul as “the best-known American propagandist for our enemies” and said in an interview that “he is not really a Libertarianperson.”

But Paul rejects such attacks and insists he’s “pretty mainstream.” In a New Year’s Day interview on CNN, he said “if you look at the real issues that count... that is the foreign policy, the spending, the monetary policy, the personal liberties that I talk about all the time, and under those - with those conditions, this is where I get the support. And not only is it with Republicans, but these views are really, really, you know, attractive to the Independents and the Democrats,” Paul told host Wolf Blitzer.

Much of Paul’s Iowa support is coming from young voters. Time Magazine reports that hundreds of young people spent their holidays canvassing for him in Iowa, and that his campus support organization, Youth for Ron Paul, has 1,300 members in Iowa alone.

In about 36 hours from now we should know how Iowans feel. KUT News has sent reporter Matt Largey to cover the Paul campaign and we’ll be posting results on this site as they come in tomorrow night. 

Nathan Bernier is the transportation reporter at KUT. He covers the big projects that are reshaping how we get around Austin, like the I-35 overhaul, the airport's rapid growth and the multibillion dollar transit expansion Project Connect. He also focuses on the daily changes that affect how we walk, bike and drive around the city. Got a tip? Email him at Follow him on Twitter @KUTnathan.
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