Paul reacts to positive poll fortunes, nagging questions about electability
December 14th, 2011
02:15 PM ET
7 years ago

Paul reacts to positive poll fortunes, nagging questions about electability

Amherst, New Hampshire (CNN) - Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul is currently confronted by two political realities: promising poll numbers in the states that hold the first two presidential contests, and nagging questions about his electability in a general election.

On Wednesday in New Hampshire, the Texas congressman addressed them both: playing up his popularity in Iowa and New Hampshire and insisting not only can he win the White House but that his critics fear a Paul administration. Even still, if the GOP primary race morphs into a long battle, Paul questioned his own stamina to endure it.

"I'm not looking forward to anything being long and protracted. So I hope it ends rather quickly and we do real well in the beginning of the year," Paul said after reporters questioned his ability to go long in a possible fight.

"The [Paul] organization is fantastic. The question is: am I going to hold up if I keep doing all this," Paul said.

Reporters also asked Paul about his steady, and in some cases surging, poll fortunes. The question-and-answer exchange came after a stop at a small convenience store in Amherst. It was the congressman's third event over a two-day swing in the Granite State.

"It means a whole lot for the campaign. It means that the momentum is building up," Paul said. "A lot of the candidates so far in this past year would come and go. You know, they'd shoot to the top and then drop back rather rapidly. Ours has never been that way. Ours has been very, very steady growth. And this last week or two there's a sudden extra growth."

"I think in political terms it means we're probably peaking at the right time."

Recent polls show Paul not only surging in Iowa but faring well against the two current GOP frontrunners: former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. A fresh NBC News/Marist poll for Iowa shows Gingrich at 24% and Romney and Paul tied at 17%. Other polls for the Hawkeye State show similar numbers, with Gingrich in the lead and Paul either tied with Romney, slightly ahead, or slightly behind.

Yet even some of Paul's own supporters wonder if he can go the distance.

At a packed town hall on Tuesday evening in Peterborough, one Paul supporter – a California native - asked the congressman: how could she convince others to vote for Paul given that many federal employees would be out of work if Paul were able to shutter the government agencies he deems costly or unnecessary. Another supporter at the event questioned whether or not Paul's overall message is resonating.

"How do you get your message out to Americans that there's a real problem?" a man asked, referring to the dangers of government spending.

And at a Wednesday breakfast meet-and-greet at Joey's Diner, one man simply urged Paul to stand up for himself.

"You need to start saying, 'I can get elected,' Ken Brumleve told the congressman. "Because nobody's saying it. You've got to say it."

"Well you know why they say that - because they're scared to death I will get elected," Paul responded. "So they have to put a negative spin on it."

Yet the congressman conceded the man's point.

"You're right," Paul said.

After the exchange, Brumleve told CNN, "Everybody I talk to about Ron Paul say he's got great ideas, he's a great person – but he can't be elected. He can't win. So he's got to get out and say he can win."

Reporters pressed Paul about that sentiment after his convenience store event.

"Everyday it seems to be getting better…We're doing well in the polls. But I don't think that we should, you know, rest on that. I think there's only one poll coming up – well two immediate. That's the 3rd and the 10th, here. So that will make the big difference," Paul said, referencing the Iowa caucuses on January 3 and New Hampshire's first-in-the-nation primary on January 10.

"If you do extremely well or win those that might dampen that propaganda about, 'Oh, he can't win. He can't win.'

Paul was asked if he can appeal to social conservatives, national security hawks and conservative Wall Street executives within the GOP.

"Well you can't win over everybody," Paul told reporters. "But I think some of those individuals, you know, the special interests on Wall Street - they might have a lot of money, but they don't have the numbers of voters."

"Some of those you won't win over because their interests are served by the Federal Reserve," added Paul, a frequent critic of that agency. "But the people, the more they understand the Federal Reserve, and how this monetary system works, the more our numbers grow."

As Gingrich vows to run a positive campaign, Paul explained the difference between going negative and drawing contrasts.

"I think pointing out people's positions is not negative," Paul said. "If you go after people and you distort information and it becomes personal, that can be construed as negative. But if the media won't talk about a person's record I think the candidates have a responsibility to point out, 'Well his position used to be this.'"

"I mean, what is wrong with that? That's what campaigning is all about. 'Well he used to say this. And then he flipped over like this.' I don't consider that negative."

–Follow Shannon Travis on Twitter: @ShanTravisCNN

Filed under: 2012 • New Hampshire • Ron Paul
soundoff (300 Responses)
  1. Nick

    @Woman In California
    You seriously need to stop trolling these comment sections. You are coming across as ignorant and angry. If you have a point to make, make it. But please, have some substance in your argument other than "these losers support a kook." So far, I haven't seen you make a single educated point.

    December 14, 2011 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  2. Robert

    @Hair Bear – No, he needs to walk over to Mittens and say "I'm not too old", and then to Newt "I'm not a liar", then to Perry "I believe in God, and he didn't pick me, he let's me pick for myself"... then give the bird to Bachmann and go get the nomination.

    December 14, 2011 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  3. durk

    Ron Paul is really inspiring to me. His message gives me hope for the world. His ideas make sense. He is the only person who has anything new to say. The rest is the same old thing that has created the problems we are having. Why would anyone attack a country run by Ron Paul? They wouldn't have a reason too! If anything they would want to move here to live in a free society. We can watch our backs for enemies in much better ways than filling other countries with war and aggressive tactics.

    If you don't want bears to attack you, you get off their backs and cautiously watch them from the hills. The current strategy is to poke them with a hot iron and wonder why they get angry.

    December 14, 2011 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  4. mAD mIKE

    Any one that says that Ron Paul has GREAT IDEAS!!! Has not taken the time to read & examine, (REALLY EXAMINE WITH CRITICAL THOUGHT) his policies & ideas.... You will find that they would ruin this country & trully make it a country where; EVERY MAN , WOMEN & CHILD would be forced to FEND FOR THEMSELVES....

    It would be like the world of MAD MAX BEYOUND THUNDER DOME.....

    December 14, 2011 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  5. detada

    Frankly, I like the guy, but I don't agree with his ideology and would never vote for him. He would not win a general election.

    December 14, 2011 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  6. Peace

    You can win Ron Paul. Don't listen to those who are pulling you backwards to prevent you making history too!

    December 14, 2011 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  7. Robert Fallin

    Of course some Ron Paul supporters are worried about Ron Paul "going the distance". Ron Paul is now past the stage of being ignored, so now he is being slandered, by Fox News' Dick Morris (among others at Fox News), Sean Hannity's radio show, NPR and REASON magazine's Nick Gillespie, et. al. Somehow, the old, discredited "racist newsletters" story is coming to fore; and, now that the "Ron Paul can't get the nomination" is failing, it's "Ron Paul can't win a national election." Couple this with gas prices and unemployment falling and GOP sellouts on the budget and making war on U.S. citizens and you have the groundwork laid for another Obama term, courtesy of Newt Gingrich or Mitt Romney.

    December 14, 2011 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  8. Sammy

    If people would just spend 1h of research on each candidate and what they stand for, Ron Paul would get 99% of all votes. Education is key and not accepting what you are told or see in the media.

    December 14, 2011 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  9. CNN Political Team

    We were afraid that Paul might continue to take the lead in this election, so we had to email all of our buddies as soon as this article was released in order to get them to post negative comments.
    It's a little threatening that Ron Paul has all of this support nationwide. We don't really know what to do about it anymore. He just keeps growing in popularity.

    December 14, 2011 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  10. "hello, suicide hotline, is this a neocon speaking?"

    Public service announcement to all neocons. Stay away from any building with over 2floors, hide your pills, step away from subway platforms, and heavy traffic. After January 3rd, you may suffer from severe depression. You will be in a very, very weak emotional state. End of public service announcement

    December 14, 2011 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  11. Max

    The man can win...anyone can win except the flip-flopping Newt and the flip-flopping Mitt. As for the 'flubbering' Perry, he's out!

    December 14, 2011 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  12. Marie Rich

    Agre or disagree with Ron Paul on any issue you like.I often do. Just try not to be nasty about it. I've been aware for 30years that the "Republicrats" were a bane to America. The one thing we should all be able to agree on is the erosion of civil liberties in the USA. Ron Paul is a statesman- not a politician. He is not going to change his positions to garner more votes. I respect that. I am also aware that many of his ideas will never make it out of Congress. (does anything that doesn't enrich a politician?). However, he can rescind past Executive Orders, and veto bills. That would be enough for me, at this crucial time. Live free, or die!

    December 14, 2011 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  13. Mythic Mystic

    More like Gandalf. "OBAMA, YOU SHALL NOT BE RE-ELECTED!!"

    December 14, 2011 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  14. TruthSpeaks


    Sorry, but Dr Quack would ruin this country.)

    Sorry but war mongers such with the likes of Newt, and others would ruin the country and also if you have a job why are you wasting time making comments?

    December 14, 2011 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  15. Lee

    Ron Paul can not win in November if he can only get 17% of the people in the Iowa caucus to vote for him.

    December 14, 2011 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  16. Sniffit

    "I wish you were Obama's 2012 Campaign Manager instead of David Axelrod. That whole "It's Bush's fault" excuse was shot down in 2010 and is even weaker now. Obama will have to deliver more than excuses in 2012."

    What part of the math don't you understand? Or is this just more "lalalalalala I can't hear you I can't hear you" from a well programmed GOP/Teatroll atlknig point parrot? The fact is, "it's Bush's fault" hasn't been rejected in the sense you're trying to claim. Smart people recognize quite well the contribution the Bush's and the GOP's policies have made to the continuing growth of deficit and debt problems and they also recognize that addressing those problems requires an honest, objective acceptance of those contributions in order to formulate a solution. Sure, nobody wants to see a sitting POTUS claim it was all the other guy's fault and take no responsibility for what he himself could've done better: the point is to accurately apportion responsibility. Large portions of the deficit growth under Obama are a result of the Bush tax cuts and the massive drop in unemployment that occurred before and continued to occur after Obama took office. Obama was able to stop the bleeding but you don't get thanked for that when what people want is a magical transfusion that fixes everythign overnight. Meanwhile, we have the GOP yanking tubes out of the machine to prevent it. So's not rejected in the way you claim. People don't want to hear excuses, it's true, but what they do want to hear is an honest, objective discussion that addresses and accurately apportions ALL factors that have led to where we are. On that front, they don't want to hear "it's all Obama's fault and he owns it now" either unless they're simply GOP basers who have been biding their time to make that claim solely based on Obama having been in office and prevented from doing enough to help by GOP obstruction.

    December 14, 2011 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  17. Sniffit

    'drop in unemployment "

    should have said "drop in employment " or "rise in unemployment" get the point

    December 14, 2011 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  18. No Paul

    His son Rand Paul will be drag on his campaign. I would not vote for Ron Paul based on his sons weird Character. He has very bad standing in Minor Community at Kentucky.

    December 14, 2011 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  19. JukeJointJimee

    Ron Paul will win the nomination. Then we can all belly laugh at Bath House Barry Sortero trying to debate the good Dr. I can't wait!

    December 14, 2011 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  20. Anonymous

    While I would consider voting for Mr. Paul, his anemic reference to Wall St. money raises doubts. He should be clearly blasting them for the damage Wall St. has done to the concept of capitalism (which demands regulation to keep it from eating itself).

    December 14, 2011 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  21. Punk

    Ron Paul would ruin the country? Why? Becouse he would pull out the troops out from the Middle East? What would you do, if China has occupied us? I would fight for freedom! But if they got out and left us in peace, WHY THE HELL SHOULD I STILL FIGHT? WHAT FOR, IF I HAVE ACHIEVED WHAT I WANTED? Think, it's the same situation in Afganistan, Iraq, Pakistan!

    Ron Paul isn't crazy, nor dangerous, he is REASONABLE! The only problem is he is not corrupted and no damn corporation supports him! Oh, and of course he has voted for the same things for 30 years – now that's terrible, we want a president like Gingrich, who would change his mind every week, who is unreliable, and probably had another wife by the end of the year.

    Paul isn't just the way of stoping the american crisis, but he is a way of putting this country in the condition it was under Reagan. America wasn't build on the idea of socializm, military intervention all over the world, it was created on the base of freedom, liberty, and democracy, ran by the people, not the government!! And you know what? It's clear, that before we started all this what we have now, we were the strongest and greatest nation of the world! The UE zone is falling, because two decades ago they started that we have just entered. And I see only one man on the stage who has noticed it and wants to prevent the U.S. from ending up like Greece, Italy, or Spain.

    Ron Paul 2012. It worked in the past, it will work now.

    December 14, 2011 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  22. ZTTim


    In answer to your question.... Here are a few groups of people Ron Paul appeals to.

    Those Americans who...

    1. Are tired of endless wars....
    2. Are opposed to a Federal Reserve systems that picks winners and losers.
    3. Are opposed to government that is hell-bent on intruding in every facet of our lives
    4. A government that is taking money from poor people here, and giving it to rich people in other countries (foreign aid)
    5. A government that as recently as this week, passed legislation that will allow American citizens to be captured, and detained indefinitely without charge or due process (NDAA 2012)
    6. A so-called War on Drugs that since it's inception has cost over a trillion dollars and has lead to a higher incarceration rate for non-violent offenders than any other industrialized country.
    7. A government who is more concerned about the borders between Afghanistan and Iraq that our own.

    I think a better question is.....why does'nt Ron Paul appeal to everybody?

    December 14, 2011 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  23. Rudy NYC

    anonymous wrote:

    we all know mainstream media is scared to death of Ron Paul. could u be any more biased in ur reporting? who says Ron Paul cant win? Those who dont wish him to win. Thats who...
    My. My. How short the selective memories fade? Earlier this year, back when most campaigns were not even announced yet, Ron Paul was one the first to announce he was going to be in it to win it. He had the spotlight virtually almost all of it to himself. Even after folks like Herman Cain jumped into the fray, Paul had the media....until disaster struck.

    Rand Paul, son of Ron, with name of Paul, went on national television expressing his discontentment at the Civil Rights Act of 1964. From his Libertarian perspective, the Act compromised your freedom of speech. Rand came out said, point blank, that you had a right to be bigot if you wanted. You can throw people out of your place of business if that do not suit you. Ron Paul was bombarded with questions asking for clarification on his son's remarks. Ron Paul did not discredit them. He dodged the questions and the media. It has been that way since.

    December 14, 2011 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  24. Herne

    Ron Paul 2012!
    we need someone NOT affiliated with any big cooperation and someone that has morals (hmm...morals that apply to the 99% of us) in other words...the only guy in Washington....that leaves only Ron Paul.

    December 14, 2011 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  25. Rudy NYC

    Eva wrote:

    As a recovering democrat I now fervently support Ron Paul. Obama lied and is destroying our freedoms.
    You sound like you're fried and support Ron Paul mainy because he wants to legalize marijuana. Please, the next time you want to make accusations of "Obama lied", would you please provide an example to help us understand your point. Simply standing up and spewing hate makes you sound like that is that you know how to do.

    December 14, 2011 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
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