This kind of thing has happened before at special interest gatherings. For two years in a row now, Paul has won the Conservative Political Action Conference straw poll under similar circumstances.
There’s no doubt that Paul supporters are –“stuffing the ballot box” isn’t the right phrase – showing up at such gatherings in a way to give their man a good showing. Nothing wrong with that.
Tony Perkins, who heads the Family Research Council, points out that some 600 people registered Saturday morning (not for the full weekend, and many of them students who paid the lowest entry fee) voted for Paul, then left after he spoke.
Of the 3,400 people who attended, 1,983 voted. “You do the math,” Perkins told reporters.
Still, although Paul may carry a strong libertarian message with tea party crossovers, he does not do particularly well in state and national polls asking who the GOP should pick as their champion to challenge Barack Obama.
In the most recent Gallup poll, taken in mid-September, he came in third (with 13 percent) behind Mitt Romney (24 percent) and Rick Perry (31 percent). In a more recent Washington Post-ABC News poll, Paul gets 11 percent among the general population and 9 percent among registered voters (figures that have held steady for months).