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Ron Paul: Rick Santorum exit could provide opening

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In some cases, he underperformed expectations.

He didn't win a single state, despite expectations that he might take Alaska or North Dakota. He performed better in caucus states, but not as well as some experts had predicted. 

Of the three remaining candidates, he has the fewest number of delegates: 51 in the latest Associated Press count, compared with 661 for Mr. Romney.

But by the most important measure – the number of votes he received – Paul was a much bigger player this year than in 2008.

In a "living autopsy" of Paul's campaign, The New York Times's Micah Cohen compared the votes and delegates Paul won by Super Tuesday in 2008 (when 27 states had voted) with the votes he's received so far this year in the 32 states that have held contests. Paul's share of the votes was 4 percent in 2008, compared with 10 percent in 2012. He's also received nearly twice the number of total votes.

In accounting for the change, Mr. Cohen writes that, "It is possible that Mr. Paul has simply run a better campaign. But the more likely explanation is that the mood of the country is more aligned to Paul’s views than it was in 2008." Factors include the rise of the tea party and changing opinions on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan (which Paul opposes).

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