How badly does the GOP need Paul’s voters? Consider this: In New Hampshire, Paul won 47 percent of voters aged 18 to 29.
Making inroads into Barack Obama’s appeal to younger demographics is high on the Republican National Committee’s to-do list. Keeping Paul adherents on the reservation would be one easy way to do that.
Plus, as the National Journal’s Major Garrett notes in a story Tuesday, young voters equal enthusiasm – and the GOP looks like it might actually have a developing enthusiasm problem.
Turnout in the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primaries was fairly strong, but still less than what top Republicans in both states had predicted. If Mitt Romney becomes the nominee, as now appears likely, the party may need as many exciting surrogates as it can get on the campaign trail to try to inject energy into the race.
“Paul isn’t the only remedy. But he’s undoubtedly part of it,” writes the National Journal’s Garrett.
Paul could also be a means to keep committed fiscal conservatives happy with the GOP ticket if Mr. Romney is the eventual nominee. Paul’s non-interventionist views on foreign policy are out of step with many Republican voters, but his call for deep cuts in government spending, and his distrust of the Federal Reserve, are not. It’s possible some of Paul’s economic positions could find their way into the party platform.
Paul won 32 percent of voters in the New Hampshire primary who said the budget deficit was the one issue that most decided their vote. That result was a hair behind Romney, who won 34 percent of such voters. But Paul cleaned up among voters who said the one quality they most wanted in a candidate was for him to be a true conservative. The Texan took 41 percent of that vote. Romney got only 13 percent.