One of the biggest criticisms Ron Paul has received has been his apparent inability to penetrate into double digits in scientific polls. Many reasons have been given for this both for and against the Paul campaign. However, polling results just released by American Research Group Inc suggest that the scientific polls may finally be catching up to where Paul's supporters claim he has been all along.
Just four days ago, a poll ARG took Dec. 16-19 showed Dr. Paul with the support of just 4% of Iowa caucusers. Four days later, a poll taken Dec. 20-23 by this same polling organization shows him at 10%, more than twice his previous support level. The poll shows nearly all of Paul's main opponents dropping in their support, including front runner Mike Huckabee who lost five points to 23%, down from 28% four days prior. The only main opponent who rose was Mitt Romney, whose support rose four points after an 11 point drop from their prior poll. This is most likely a bounce after a fall due to the controversy regarding Romney's religious beliefs.
Even more interesting, the same poll shows that Dr. Paul's support among women in Iowa is slightly higher than men, as 11% of women are expressing their support for Paul in the poll.
The poll doesn't say what its statistical margin for error is. Similar polls typically have about a 4 point error margin. If this poll has a similar sample size, it means that Paul's support has increased by more than the margin for error, which likely indicates that it is at least partly a genuine move upward and not merely a statistical anomaly.
What is even more interesting is that ARG typically reports that about 80-90% of the support for the top candidates is not likely to change. Yet, the percentages of support for each candidate appears to be swinging dramatically. This suggests that the "strong" support may not be as strong as the pollster thinks it is.
ARG also conducted a poll on Dec. 20 in which they found that 45% of Republicans are now dissatisfied with George Bush's economic leadership, up from 25% in November. That's a dramatic increase. Given the fact that only Ron Paul is discussing economic issues directly and in detail, this could be part of the reason why his support has jumped so much in just four days.
It's dangerous to read too much into these
numbers, given the volatility that the scientific polling numbers
have been showing from all pollsters over the past few weeks and
months. Still Paulites and the Paul campaign have to feel encouraged,
not the least because with this poll Paul appears to have finally
broken into double-digits. With the Iowa Caucuses just eight days
away, this could be the beginning of a Paul wind sprint to the
finish line in his attempt to catch the frontrunners. Not bad
for a 72-year-old ob/gyn.