|Likely Republican |
|Jan 11-12 |
Mitt Romney leads the South Carolina Republican presidential primary with 29%. Newt Gingrich is in second place with 25% and Ron Paul is in third place with 20%.THE CATHOLIC KNIGHT: There is a bitter sense of vindication that comes from this. Vindication because it proves that I was right. Ron Paul is the ONLY candidate that can beat Mitt Romney and Barack Obama. Bitter because it appears that not enough people are seeing that now, and this will inevitably result in the re-election of Barack Obama in November.
Paul has gained the most and Rick Santorum has lost the most since the last American Research Group survey on January 4-5. In that survey, Paul was at 9% and Santorum was at 24%.
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I don't know if Ron Paul will surge enough on his own to win South Carolina. Certainly if Rick Santorum or Rick Perry dropped out right now, it would be 'game on' for Ron Paul winning South Carolina. To my fellow Catholic supporters of Santorum out there, did you really think the 'he's a good Catholic' line would play well in South Carolina which has one of the smallest Catholic populations in the entire United States? You have to understand, a large number of Evangelicals (most concentrated in South Carolina) really see no distinction between Catholics and Mormons. They are both viewed as a 'cult' by Evangelicals, and some might even see the Mormons as less threatening. Newt Gingrich's popularity there is mainly from name recognition and folks remembering his 'Contract with America' back in 1994. I dare say a good number of voters in South Carolina don't even know he's Catholic.
Santorum and Perry are finished. The best thing they could do is drop out and let their delegates go to Paul and Gingrich respectively, giving Romney a real run for his money. Alas, I fear they will continue to divide the conservative vote in the Republican Party, allowing Romney to skate right into the GOP convention with the most delegates this August.
A Romney victory in August spells an Obama victory in November.
Now that being said, and all rancour aside (my own included), let's analyse something a little more dispassionately. Regardless of what anyone says about this primary process, and regardless of whoever wins the GOP nomination, there is one thing that is absolutely clear and cannot be denied. Ron Paul has changed the face of the Republican Party -- forever.
What we have right now is an entire section of the Republican Party (about 20%) that has rejected the status quo precedents set by previous GOP administrations and congresses. What we have is a political party that is now about 20% more 'libertarian' than it was just ten years ago. We have a party that is 20% more likely to embrace a non-interventionist approach to foreign policy. We have a party that is 20% more likely to want to abolish the Federal Reserve. We have a party that is 20% more likely to embrace states rights and decentralisation. This is why GOP icon Sarah Palin has warned Republicans not to alienate the Ron Paul supporters. For in alienating them, they risk the breakup of the Republican Party entirely. The only GOP candidate bringing in sizable numbers of young energetic voters right now is Ron Paul. It is clear, beyond any shadow of a doubt, that the future of the Republican Party is going to reflect Ron Paul's thinking a lot more than any other political candidate. Paul has made his mark on the GOP, and it is a mark that is here to stay, unless of course the GOP rejects it. If they do that however, the GOP rejects its future and consigns itself to a generation of irrelevance.