June 8th, 2007
09:00 AM ET
10 years ago

The Ron Paul phenomenon?

Rep. Ron Paul answers a question from CNN's Wolf Blitzer at Tuesday's GOP debate.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - It’s been an exciting week for us at the Ticker – a few days ago, we opened up the comments section of our blog, and since then, we’ve received thousands of responses.

A large number of the ones we’ve posted so far have been from supporters of White House presidential hopeful Ron Paul, R-Texas.

But come Tuesday night’s GOP debate, we were inundated with Paul comments on our ticker post: “Who won the GOP debate?”

Many of the comments we received were supportive of the Texas congressman, while others registered frustration that the flood of Paul posts impeded the general online discussion, likening them to spam.

One thing is for sure: Ron Paul supporters are effective at coordinating and mobilizing online quickly. For the three GOP debates so far, Paul has won or placed high in most of the unscientific online surveys including ABC's, MSNBC's, FOX's, and unscientific polls conducted on a number of blogs.

Paul virtually swept CNN's unscientific survey after Tuesday night's GOP debate: not only did participants say Paul won the debate, but also that he knew the most about the issues, had the best one-liner, had the most surprising performance, and got the biggest boost from the debate. (He wasn’t considered the snappiest dresser, however – see Mitt Romney). The topic is getting some play on conservative blogs, too.

These informal polls are unscientific because supporters can often vote more than once, and are not randomly selected, and while they may be useful indicator of a candidate’s ability to organize online, they are not generally an accurate measure of support across the electorate.

The comments section is intended to be informal, of course, but the strain on resources that night prompted us to take down the “Who won the GOP debate” question (though that didn’t stop Paul supporters from commenting; they started adding comments to the “Who won the Democratic debate?” post). The intention was not to censor Ron Paul supporters - right now, you'll find hundreds of Paul posts on the site.

Given the volume of submissions, we do not post every comment. That said, we will always try to post as many as possible. We know how frustrating it can be to write something thoughtful and never see it published.

Right now “Ron Paul” is among the top-searched terms on Technorati, the popular site that tracks blog posts. According to the community Web site, Eventful, there are more than 16,000 outstanding “demands” for Paul to appear in cities across the country – that’s up 11,000 from just one week ago, leapfrogging him over Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-New York. Ron Paul video clips get plenty of play on YouTube and there is no shortage of blogs devoted to his support.

What do these numbers mean? How do you reconcile that support with the national poll numbers? In virtually every scientific national poll - generally regarded as the best measurement of public support for a political candidate - Paul registers, at most, between 1 and 2 percent. Do the debate numbers reflect something different than the national polls? Is it too early to tell?

Paul opposes abortion rights, voted to authorize a 700-mile fence along the U.S.-Mexican border, supports withdrawing troops from Iraq, and defines marriage as between a man and a woman. Is he a “true conservative”? If indeed his support is growing, what is it going to take for Paul to break out and challenge the front-runners for the GOP presidential nomination?

We welcome your comments below.

For more breaking political news, check back with www.cnn.com/ticker

- The CNN Political Ticker Team

Filed under: Ron Paul
soundoff (1,482 Responses)
  1. Former USAF Veteran

    Mass Media...You can't hide the TRUTH....for long. Someone, Somewhere, Somehow....Will leak it. The Ron Paul revolution has already begun.

    December 17, 2007 06:04 am at 6:04 am |
  2. Bryan, europe

    Whether you agree with his policies or not, he is at least the most , if not the only, honest and truthful person standing up to be president. He speaks not for some unknown behind the seens agenda. How can the election be truely democratic if the media do not give equally coverage to all the candidates, and give great coverage to denigrating candidates they, the media, do not approve of ?

    January 9, 2008 12:47 am at 12:47 am |
  3. Bobby

    Some conservatives (and democrats as well) have reservations about Ron Paul's stance against the war because they have bought into the post WWII rhetoric that we somehow need to continually expand the military and become the world's #1 arms dealer. And that this defines us as the most powerful nation on earth. This premise is based on fear, all the fear that the Regans and Bushes can drum up to say we are in a continual state of war. Yes, we may one day experience another Pearl Harbor or another 9/11 but all the bombs and military basses around the globe to no ends extreme will be able to prevent these things from happening. They will, as Ron Paul knows, contribute to bankrupting our nation as we spread ourselves too thin around the world in this ridiculous and paranoid quest for global dominanation. Let's join together with Ron Paul to end this! Let's wake up to the rhetorical lies of 'politics as usual' and get behind the only real candidate for change and send a message despite all the lies and bully tactics to marginalize him and laugh at him and exclude him from media coverage and 'electability'. Let's us the people stand up with him for what we believe in!!!!

    January 11, 2008 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  4. dave

    This post talks about how Paul only wins "unscientific polls." But I guess the writer either doesn't follow politics, or thinks the Iowa Caucus is yet another "unscientific poll."

    Even C-SPAN covered Biden, and Guilliani. Ron Paul got 10% of the Iowa GOP vote. Considering the guy can't even get on C-SPAN, I think that is pretty good.

    January 17, 2008 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  5. Dani

    I agree with everyone who said the media is not giving Ron Paul an equal amount of air time. At time the so called "news" channels will skip completely over his name. Or else they will quickly mention his name and follow it up with a "suprising" statement about another candidate.
    It's amazing to me the media isn;t backing this man for presidency. He is the only one who does not waiver in his views. You may not agree with everything he believes in, but at least he doesn't constantly chang his tune.
    Americans need to stop watching who the media is "telling us" to vote for; because that's exactly what is happening...We are basically being instructed on who the top candidates should be. We need to look up the candidates on our own and do our own research before going to caucaus our to vote in November.
    Ron Paul is a strong voice for the people. Vote for Ron Paul.

    January 19, 2008 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  6. Greg

    To bad the news only focus on the ones who cry or argue about worthless topics. Instead of giving everyone an equal chance to speak. Then post all these polls making it look like the one guy you hope wins does not have a chance?? Then they wonder why people don't come to vote cause there is no one worth voting for?

    January 28, 2008 12:34 am at 12:34 am |
  7. Mike

    “It should come as no surprise that when you crunch the numbers Ron Paul is the only Republican who would actually shrink the size and cost of the federal government,” said Ron Paul campaign economic advisor Don Luskin.

    January 30, 2008 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60