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Why the 7 to 11% national polls show Ron Paul is the frontrunner - statistical explanation

Hello everyone,
I consider myself a math and stats guy and have been bothered for quite some time just like many of you that Ron Paul seems to only keep polling at between 7 and 11 percent in the Gallup and Rasmussen polls despite crushing the straw polls and online debate polls so I decided to see if there was maybe a reason for this “statistically” and after doing some number crunching I have been able to determine that I believe these polls to be accurate but at the same time incredibly misleading. Let me explain. And just a warning ahead of time, this looks very good for Ron Paul, and the Diebold election machines will have some explaining to do if we lose the primary and here’s why…

I have decided to use the 2008 primary as my base for numbers. When looking at the 2008 primaries for both parties we can determine the number of “active participants” in the primary process (people I consider as those who get involved in the political process such as watch debates, vote online in debate polls, and most importantly, vote in the primaries). Looking at 2008, the number of eligible voters for the primaries in the United States was 247,352,702. The number of actual voters in these primaries was 61,445,859 which means that 24.84% of eligible voters participated in the primaries.

Let’s now take that percentage and plug it in to the Gallup and Rasmussen polls that use a sample size of 1,000 voters (it doesn’t necessarily matter if the poll uses more or less than 1,000). When Gallup and Rasmussen conduct their polls, the calls are not directed at “active participants”, instead they are chosen at random. So therefore if you call 1,000 people, the 2008 primary numbers indicate that roughly only 1 in 4 of those participating in these polls will be voting in the primary. This part of the analysis now requires us to take a quick look at the Ron Paul support base.

Ron Paul supporters are known to be by far the most avid of all supporters. Even the Mainstream Media acknowledges this, one of the recent polls said that even though Ron Paul only gained 10% support, it was the most solid support and that his 10% was not likely to being going away. We can all agree that with the media censoring going on, if you support Ron Paul it is because you are an “active participant”. I do not know of a single Ron Paul supporter that will not be voting in a primary and most of us watch the debates and most of us vote in the debates. I will say for the sake of this study that I’m very confident that at least 75% of Ron Paul supporters will be voting in the primaries which is not the case for the other candidates and if Gallup or Rasmussen added that question to the poll, that’s what the results would show. Now on to where our 7%-11% polling becomes huge.

If you take the 1,000 people questioned in the Gallup and Rasmussen polls and use the 2008 primary stat showing only a quarter will take part in the primary, you have 250 “active participants”. If 7%-14% are Ron Paul supporters and three quarters of them will vote then out of the 250 “active participants” polled, you have 21% to 42% of them voting for Ron Paul and that is what really counts. This number is clearly reflected by Ron Paul winning the straw polls and online debate polls with similar numbers to these, and sometimes even higher. Large sample size polls such as the TIME magazine poll reflect this.

The thing to remember is that when they post the Gallup and Rasmussen polls, only 25% of those people will be participating in the primary and that with Ron Paul’s strong support by all of us, his numbers are MUCH MUCH larger where it counts and that is in the “active participants” area that I mentioned above. I didn’t check the winner of the 2008 primaries in each state but I’m guessing with Ron Paul getting between 30 and 40 percent, he should be able to win the primary.

Just to sum up how we should view these "national polls" and to simplify the calculation process of how these polls should translate to the primaries (which will obviously vary state to state), take Ron Paul's number and 50% of his supporters vote, then you double his Gallup and Rasmussen numbers. If 75% of his supporters vote, then you triple it. This is where the great coordinated grassroots effort will win the primary, by doing the absolutely most important thing, voting and getting others to vote. The other candidates may be on TV all day, and that lets them leads the national polls but when comes down to winning the primary, the people watching Foxnews every night and then answering the phone for Rasmussen doesn't mean they are voting. And yes, I'm sure this is why the establishment is very scared, and cause of all of us with the avid support, they know we are all gonna vote cause one percent in the national polls for Paul equals every three percent for their candidates.

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How Can I Beleive?

When 1,000 phone calls represent over 200,000,000 potential voters.

When Gallup or Rasmussen conduct their polls - What are their criteria? ie: Only land lines? Only Republicans? Only Registered Voters? What Age Group?

These and many other logistics have to be taken into consideration - Take myself for instance - I'm a Republican, I'm registered to vote, I'm over 70, however, I only have a cell phone - Question? Do you think I'll ever have a chance of being polled? LOL

How about Independents, Libertarians, etc..?
How about the 25 to 40 year olds with cell phones only?
How about the Obama millions that have been lied to?

My point is how can these polls be valid when the methodologies used by pollsters are archaic.

The Only Polls That Count Are: How Many Delegates We Have! How Many Of Us Are Going To Vote!

I had the same conclusion in

I had the same conclusion in 08 and it didn't work out so good for us. The biggest lesson I learned from 08 is the key to this is the delegate process. It's how the nominee is picked and the electoral college is elected. We can win the whole thing with 10% of the population if we become delegates.

The delegate process didn't work in 2008, either

Why isn't that data point just as important?

It is good to have. I don't see how it is better, or more likely, than winning Iowa.

It didn't work because we

It didn't work because we didn't have the numbers. We didn't have the numbers because too many of us gave up after the early primary season and didn't understand the process. Missouri, my state, had about 1/3 of the delegates for RP. We started out with about 40%, but the machine ejected 10% of us. The exciting thing is that is doesn't take many to overwhelm the delegate process. We won our county with .004% of our population. That works out to 40 people per 100,000. The big lesson was we need more like .007% to win. Jackson County, MO (Kansas City,MO) took their county in a landslide victory and got delegates to the national. The rest of the state was mostly a 51/49 win or a 40/60 loss. Even the slight wins are really a loss when the machine is against you. We can win the delegate process with 70 people per 100,000 on average.

It's how the nominee is picked. It's how the electoral college is selected. It's how the GOP platform is set. Save your energy and focus on the delegate process.

The same can be said about winning Iowa

We only need 1.5% of the iowa population to caucus and we win.

If .004% of the US (which would be the required delegates), or 12000 people, spent 1 hour a week calling Iowa and New Hampshire from now until January 3rd we would win both states and the nomination.


What's Iowa's population and

What's Iowa's population and whats the percentage of voters who caucus in Iowa? The last census states a population of 3,046,355. My estimates are that we need .007% of the population on average across the United States to secure the delegate process because the machine is against us. I use that number because my state turned out about .004 and it wasn't enough.

I'm with you. We need to get people to the caucus so that we can get the delegates. Iowa is the most important. Where are you getting the 1.5% number for Iowa?

Huckabee got almost 41k

Huckabee got almost 41k caucus votes and won in 2008:


Please rethink this

Please rethink this analysis.

"I will say for the sake of this study that I’m very confident that at least 75% of Ron Paul supporters will be voting in the primaries "

You have given no historical reason to believe this. If that assumption is wrong your whole analysis is invalid.

This is a more subtle analysis:

The key is caucus vs primary states. The key is Iowa before everything else. The key is phone from home:

We've got to stay productive and focused on what matters.

So its the LAZY VOTER factor vs PATRIOTS....?

If that's true then perhaps we need to get our Ron Paul Meet-ups nationwide to start Practicing...?

after all, "Practice makes Perfect".

A perfect turn out for Ron Paul could be thunderous.

Your essay inspired me to expand on that...


Yes, please BUY this wonderful libertarian BOOK! We all must know the History of Freedom! Buy it today!

"The System of Liberty: Themes in the History of Classical Liberalism" ...by author George Smith --
Buy it Here: http://www.amazon.com/dp/05211820

Nice analysis. Come what may,

Nice analysis. Come what may, real turnout will be higher than four years ago. How much? We don't know. Whether your logic is right, I cannot determine. I simply lack the knowledge. What I do know is that Ron Paul support has grown.

I do not recall if those states were 'winner take all' but in 2008 after many candidates succumbed to McCain, Paul took handily over 20%. Let's not forget Louisiana, let's not forget the blatant denial of his Nevada finish, let's not forget the proven voter fraud in New Hampshire. Let's not forget the 10% of Iowa.
All this while Ron Paul and you all were continually bashed to the ground by media, GOP locals, voters in general, your family, friends and relatives.

But let also yourself not be discouraged. Yes Paul will do better this time. Times have changed. Will he win, I do not know. Will you make the effort so that he can win, I know you will.

So take your enthusiasm on these topics to the streets and shout it of the rooftops of your cities. Go forth and multiply ;) Good luck

Dutch Ron Paul blog: http://www.paulitiek.nl | Paul Campaign Google Maps: share the victories with your Friends! http://g.co/maps/rcw2y

Very good post...

...and might I add that this election's turnout will probably be much LOWER than the 2008 election. The thrill of the first black president is OVER... especially since he's done such a jam up job destroying our once-great nation. (Well, it was great about 100 years ago...before the Fed.) A lower turnout favors Dr. Paul, for sure.

Not to mention the fact that we ARE the most active supporters out there. What if we only each got ONE person to vote for RP that wouldn't have before. Now were in the 20's as far as percentages go...and that should win all day long. We'll be siphoning off supporters from the other candidates so there totals will be lower.

Winning IOWA is KEY. We win Iowa and that battle is halfway over. THEY CANNOT IGNORE THAT IN THE MEDIA.

They'll try though.

Interesting,I would say this

Interesting,I would say this is at least somewhat true.In addition to the blue republican vote & the forgotten vote(x reason) and it could very well make a difference.

As often lets please be positive towards our common goal people, winning the Republican Primary ! Lets put our respective eccentricities or others source of obstacle that doesn't help our goal (again winning the Republican Primary !) and support our message & it's messenger.

Remember Ron has to be even more strategic then us all while being the honest man we have come to know, it's much easier for us and we have to stop forgetting it.


"Give me Liberty or give me death." Patrick Henry

It's very important that we

It's very important that we all vote- but it's even more important that we not just settle for where we're at now. We need to keep working and do a lot more to get more people to join us.

I was hoping someone would do this!

Thanks for the analysis!

One other statistical argument is the http://www.bluerepublican.org/ efforts video. That will help us win convention votes.

I think a simple graph or funnel chart would show your point well!

Good work!
- Joe

Patent Pending Magnetic Pen Holder!

Think about it like this

Say in a Rasmussen poll of 1,000 random participants that Mitt Romney gets 25% and Ron Paul gets 10%. Take those 250 Mitt Romney people and put them in a line and then across from them put the 100 Ron Paul people. Then ask those two lines of people to have only the people who will vote in the primary to step forward. How many Ron Paul people have stepped forward and how many Romney people have stepped forward. If you honestly think that we are living in a fantasy land where there will be more Romney people you are mistaken and don't see the abundance of evidence. The online polls show more Paul people participate. The straw polls show it. The jokes about the Paulbots shows it. The whole point of Ron Paul is to ELECT HIM. Are you telling me we are overwhelming the Romney people in everything we do but we won't when it comes to the most important part...VOTING? I think not. We are going to win this election and we are going to do it by getting ourselves and everyone else out to VOTE so we can take that 10% in the national poll and make it 30% or more in the primaries.

The range of mathematical and

The range of mathematical and statistical techniques used to analyse data. In order to test empirical theories and hypotheses, political scientists draw on a wide range of sources, including primarily qualitative data such as documents, unstructured interviews, and participant observation, and primarily quantitative data such as those derived from sample surveys or aggregate statistics such as election results, census materials, or cross-national statistical series.

In order to analyse quantitative data, it is first necessary to describe them, that is, to structure the information and to identify overall patterns. Once these patterns have been established then, secondly, it is important to examine the interrelationships between variables, to see whether they are associated or correlated and if so how strongly. Thirdly, assuming that the researcher has a priori reasons for asserting causal relations between variables, the question then arises of how far changes in the causal (predictor, independent) variables can explain changes in the caused (response, dependent) variables. Finally, if the data are from a sample, the issue arises of how far results can be inferred to be an accurate reflection of the population as a whole. To fulfil these four functions—description, association, explanation, and inference—political scientists use a range of techniques. The choice of such techniques varies according to a number of considerations, most notably the level of measurement.

Quantitative methods have been widely used by political scientists in a range of contexts, including, for example, the study of arms races, of political stability, of political violence, and of the behaviour of legislators, but by far their most prominent application has been in the area of electoral attitudes and behaviour, where data are easily quantified.

While such methods have enhanced the study of politics, there have been criticisms of quantifying for the sake of it, of equating results obtained with the results of scientific experiments (misapplying the methods of the natural sciences to social data), and overemphasizing numbers at the expense of explanation (the establishment of the existence of a statistically significant correlation or regression coefficient may say little about its meaning). Such criticisms have led some to a more restrained and cautious use of quantitative methods.

Read more: http://www.answers.com/topic/quantitative-methods#ixzz1dEsKsylz

" But I must say tonite that I know that justice is indivisible- injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."

Sooooo you are smart because

Sooooo you are smart because you took graduate level courses? I'd like to know what qualifies you to talk down to people. I am entitled to my beliefs as are you, but don't frickin talk to people like they're stupid. What do you listen too? What do you belive about 9/11? Or are you just talking trash? And if you are right, why brag? Do you really support Dr. Paul or are you a scared little troll?

" But I must say tonite that I know that justice is indivisible- injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."

Diebold election machines

How do we keep the Diebold election machines honest? I am really concerned.


-Requesting a paper ballot because the machine is broken. (even if it's working).
-Absentee ballots-dubious
-Finding out how to participate in the caucus (if your state has one)
-Various legal actions (for hard core activists)

-quiet engineer

ecorob's picture


but its at least that

and WE, the people ARE steam rolling!

but this only strengthens your argument and makes us remember what Dr. Paul told his son...

"Run like you are 10 points behind."

its 'cos I owe ya, my young friend...
Rockin' the FREE world in Tennessee since 1957!
9/11 Truth.


I had been feeling low for quite sometime, and this analysis really gives me "hope" for some real "change" !!
very nicely done !! makes sense.

Dr.Ron Paul's 2002 Predictions

What about 2008?

I don't know how many people were around in 2008 supporting Ron Paul and remember the polls, but I do. His poll numbers were really low then, and we all made ourselves feel better by saying "oh they just poll landlines, and all the young people have cell phones and support Ron Paul" and such. And the what happened? Oh yeah, the actually numbers Ron got in the caucuses and primaries were very close to what he had in the polls.

You study stats, and you can do whatever statistical analysis you want. I study history and I know what happened before. The polls were right, we were wrong. So you guys can make whatever excuses you want. I'm afraid the polls are right, and Ron's support has been stuck around 10% for months.

I disagree to the extent that

I disagree to the extent that Ron Paul's results in the 2008 primaries were indeed better than what the polls predicted. He took 2nd in 10 states and 3rd in 17 states, earning him 4th place.

While 4th place is a far cry from winning, the polls showed him 7th or 8th consistently. McCain also was consistently polling 3rd in national polls throughout 2007, before going on to win the nomination. My point being that these polls are not as indicative as is generally assumed.

As a different metric, if you aggregate all of the straw poll results from 2011, Ron Paul is far and away the Republican frontrunner, with 33.67% of the vote. Is this significant? I think it is, since these people will certainly vote in the primaries, and often convince a few others to vote for their candidate as well.

The significance of polls is speculative of course, and the winning strategy remains nation-wide canvassing, campaign phone calls, and registering as Ron Paul delegates. But the gains in national polling and straw polling now over 2007, in conjunction with the very strong support base will prove significant in the 2012 primaries, in my opinion. I think Ron Paul will contend for the nomination.

Agreed! (kinda)

The polls had Paul at, IIRC, something like 3-5% in late '07. However, Paul actually received 10% in the '08 Iowa caucus, which, despite your DP 'age' of 7 weeks, I'm sure you remember quite well. I'm sure you also recall how his finish was omitted from all the 'everyday' news in favor of broadcasting Girliani's pathetic 4%. Can you recall what he was polling at?

So, the take home lesson from this history course is that the polls are skewed down for certain candidates, and skewed up for others.

Paul received about twice as much in actual numbers at the kick-off event than he was polling nationally.

Another lesson that can be learned is that the eventual nominee came in FOURTH at Iowa.
And just where was he polling at this time last cycle???


The numbers are there.


RCP still has the final poll numbers right before the votes were cast. Sometimes he did a little better than predicted, sometimes worse, and on average, the polls were right.

Iowa predicted: 7.3%. Actual: 9.9%.
NH predicted: 8.2%. Actual: 7.7%.
Michigan: 5.8, 6.3
Nevada: 7.3, 13.7
SC: 4.4, 3.7
Florida: 3.6, 3.2
California: 4.5, 4.3

I'm gonna start linking to this page anytime someone says polls aren't accurate. Accepting reality doesn't make you any less of a Ron Paul supporter. It's time we do so and deal with it.

Polls currently show Ron in 3rd place in Iowa behind Romney and Cain. Hopefully Cain will collapse, Ron can take 2nd there and NH, get more media attention, cause other candidates to drop out, and springboard to some victories.

Iowa is a gamechanger

though. That is why the campaign is going after Iowa so hard. Ron Paul did very well in Iowa in '08, getting 10% of the vote. He will do much better than that this time around and we don't have Thompson, Huckabee, McCain, and Giuliani to worry about. If Ron could take Iowa, or finish a strong second, we'd have a whole new playing field.

Granted, the media will continue to downplay this, saying that, "Oh, Ron Paul spent all his money in Iowa," and "This is like Huckabee..." but someone mentioned that he does better in NON-targeted polls. That is true, and it means that there are many lazy people and plain non-voters who would vote for Paul if they thought it would make a difference. This attitude will change if he wins Iowa.

John F

i was never into politics before...

but i sure am now! my family and friends are my "practice" for telling people everything i can about ron paul. i woke up, after years of assuming it just didnt matter who won, cause its always one crook after another. im just one convert in probly a bunch of others that were in the same boat as i was. since 08, its hard to tell how many like me have decided to give a damn, cause this election, there is so much at stake, things that will affect my kids and grandkids.....
i go out meeting others to discuss and promote ron, i tell everyone i can to skip the news and go on you tube, type in ron paul, and prepare to be enlightened with the truth, and find out why ron is the only choice we have as our next president if we want to save our country. ive helped several non-voters get registered as republican in preperation for this life-changing event, a chance to be a part of history, a chance to save our republic and get our freedom back. ive donated 50 bux per month to his campaign, and will continue this as long as i can.
so, yup, ron paul WILL be our next president, no matter what those stupid, slanted poles say. or what the lame-stream media says.
this could be our one and only chance to finally get it right.


ron in 12!

ecorob's picture

i like your style, songman727!

...you sound like a lot of us and we love your passion!

see you on the street for Ron Paul!

its 'cos I owe ya, my young friend...
Rockin' the FREE world in Tennessee since 1957!
9/11 Truth.


the polls gain most of their info from ages 40 +. That means we need to make sure those voting for Paul and younger than 40 get to the polls. It is also important to note that a lot of unlikely voters, those switching to Republican just for this electoral cycle have not been adequately counted. I've looked over some of the numbers from 2008 as well and the polling was considerably off and I think we can expect that this year as well. However, as others have posted, it is still not enough to win and we do have a lot of work to do all the way up to the day of voting in each state.

That is not necessarily true, at least not in disproportion to

the actual electorate demographics.

Look at census numbers.

Look at voter registration stats from respective states.

Compare those percentages of each age group to poll results.

You'll find more often than not, the numbers are pretty close to the real age distribution. There are outside exceptions though, and those polls should always be suspect.