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Ron Paul vote in Iowa Caucus Compared to General Election

Ron Paul Supporters

"Ron Paul or no one at all."

Ron Paul, or perhaps more correctly, the policies that Ron Paul represents, is/are very polarizing. The only candidate that was disliked by the majority of Republicans more than Ron Paul, was Barack Obama. At first, this confused many Ron Paul supporters, because to them, Ron Paul represented exactly what they thought the Republican Party stood for. However, opposite to that belief, I would not be surprised if the majority of Republicans would be happy to see all the Ron Paul supporters leave the party entirely, believing they are a radical, fringe element that does not represent the party. Like usual, the truth is most likely somewhere in the middle. Perhaps Ron Paul supporters thought the Republican Party was more "libertarian" than they actually are, and perhaps Republicans believed things about Ron Paul incorrectly (I personally have seen both sides. To discover the source of each would be an interesting investigation). Or perhaps their issue was with the Ron Paul supporters themselves, and not the policies they hold (I believe this is less likely, but it must be said).

Whichever side of the fence you fall, Ron Paul supporters are thought to have a strong (or perhaps stubborn, again, depending on your point of view), affinity to Ron Paul. They are also thought to be very dedicated, showing up to vote at every opportunity, rain, shine, snow, wind, or hail, even when they are not wanted (or at times openly pushed away). I was not able to find a study that evaluates these hypotheses, but perhaps the data above proves this to be false.

The Ron Paul Vote

Let's assume for a moment that the following two statements are true. One does not become a Ron Paul supporter lightly and once you do, you do not easily, if at all, go back, and Ron Paul supporters vote every chance they get (sitting out is not an option). If these statements are true, where did the Ron Paul vote go?

In 2008, 11,841 people voted for Ron Paul in the Iowa Caucus. Ron Paul was of course not on the Iowa General Election ballot in 2008, so the only possible way to vote for him was by writing his name in. Of course, it is highly unlikely that even a majority of the write-in ballots cast were for Ron Paul. The number of write-in ballots cast has remained fairly constant throughout recent history for General Elections in Iowa, but for my purpose here, let's assume they are all for Ron Paul. If you count all 6,737 write-in ballots for Ron Paul, you come up 5,104 votes short of what he received in the Caucus. Even if you combine the Libertarian Party votes with all the write-in votes you only get to 11,327 which is still 514 votes less than what Paul received in the Caucus (and again, highly unlikely they are all Paul supporters).

And for 2012, the same story can be told. 26,036 people voted for Ron Paul in the Iowa Caucus, but only a combined 19,599 people voted for either the LP or cast a Write-In ballot in the General Election. The difference is even greater! You come up 6,437 votes short.

Combine this with the fact that a number of Paul supporters refuse to join (even temporarily) the Republican Party so their votes are not counted in the Caucus total but should be in the General Election (ex: so called "Blue Republicans"), and you've got to ask yourself, Where has all the Paul vote gone? Or perhaps a worse question/thought, how accurate are these official counts?

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