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The American Conservative: Ron Paul Gained the Most From Ames, Perry Is Already Overrated

Ron Paul’s second place finish at Ames was in many ways the most notable result from the straw poll. There had been expectations that Rep. Paul would do well, and perhaps even win, but finishing within 200 votes of the candidate currently dominating the field in Iowa is still a very good result. Compared with four years ago, both Bachmann and Paul received more votes than Romney managed to get with his much more expensive straw poll effort. According to Rasmussen’s most recent Iowa poll, the top three in Iowa right now are Bachmann, Romney, and Paul, and both Bachmann and Paul are likely to receive a boost from coverage of their success at Ames. Much could change over the next five months, but Paul is showing some significant improvement in Iowa compared to the last race, and his campaign has typically excelled in caucus formats with their relatively smaller numbers of voters. Paul received just under 10% in 2008 in Iowa, and he is already polling ahead of that. It is conceivable that he could end up in the top three in the caucuses. If that were to happen, it would propel Paul into the top tier of candidates, and it would make it increasingly difficult to dismiss the part of the party he represents as unimportant.

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