Fans of libertarian Ron Paul have got very excited by this Rasmussen poll:
Pit maverick Republican Congressman Ron Paul against President Obama in a hypothetical 2012 election match-up, and the race is – virtually dead even.
A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey of likely voters finds Obama with 42% support and Paul with 41% of the vote. Eleven percent (11%) prefer some other candidate, and six percent (6%) are undecided.
Could a 77 year old libertarian from Texas really beat Obama?
Five Thirty Eight puts it into context:
But as regular readers of this website will know, the person conducting the poll can have a profound impact on its results. Rasmussen, in particular, has had a substantial Republican-leaning house effect thus far this year. Perhaps they will turn out to be right (although their idea of trying to apply a “likely voter” model 2.5 years in advance of an election is dubious). But it would be wrong to take a Rasmussen poll (or any other) at face value without taking into account this context. …
After adjustment for house effects, Obama’s lead over Paul is not 1 point but more like 10. This result is closer to that obtained by a PPP poll in November, which had Obama ahead 46-38 against Paul (PPP’s 2012 polls have also had a very slight Republican-leaning house effect.)
Paul’s 9.9-point deficit is not awful — it’s better than of Newt Gingrich (-12.2), Jeb Bush (-13.4) or Sarah Palin (-14.4) do — but lags behind the performance of Mitt Romney, who is just 5.6 points behind, or Mike Huckabee, who is down 6.6. It also lags behind the performance of a so-called generic Republican, who is actually slightly ahead of Obama.
This is what is interesting. A generic Republican candidate beats Obama by 1.9%. But the moment you name a specific candidate, Obama leads by 5% or more. At this stage I think Obama will be re-elected – due to the lack of electable Republican candidates. But if they do find someone without serous baggage, then it is definitely game on.
Back to the Rasmussen poll, the Tea Party movement gets stronger:
Twenty-four percent (24%) of voters now consider themselves a part of the Tea Party movement, an eight-point increase from a month ago. Another 10% say they are not a part of the movement but have close friends or family members who are.
The TP movement was derided or ignored for months, but it has become the most powerful grass roots movement in recent times. It dwarves liberal counterparts such as Move On.
When it comes to major issues confronting the nation, 48% of voters now say the average Tea Party member is closer to their views than Obama is. Forty-four percent (44%) hold the opposite view and believe the president’s views are closer to their own.
Again, there may be some house bias, but that is still a powerful result.Tags: Barack Obama, Polls, Ron Paul, Tea Party Movement, United States