Not only did Ron Paul come second in the Republican presidential primary in New Hampshire Tuesday, figures published by the New Hampshire Secretary of State show that Paul also finished runner up in the Democratic primary as well.
Paul received 2,273 votes, compared to Mitt Romney’s 1,808 and Jon Huntsman’s 1,228. The clear winner was, obviously, Barack Obama with 49,480 votes.
Although the primary was not a competitive vote, the figures are very interesting for several reasons.
First of all, the figures show that 11,516 Democrats out of the total of 60,996 that voted in New Hampshire voted for someone other than Barack Obama to be the Democratic nominee. That means that almost 19 percent of Democrats voted against the Obama presidency.
Furthermore, 6,715 of those votes were write ins, meaning the candidate they chose was not on the ballot. So around 11 percent of voters went out of their way to go to a polling station and register a direct protest vote.
New Hampshire has 223,151 registered Democratic voters, so the total turn out rate was only 27 percent. Obviously many voters stayed at home given the non competitive nature of the vote.
Still, these figures highlight that there are significant numbers of Democratic voters that are dissatisfied with Obama and ready to vote for someone else.
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The most popular candidate among those dissatisfied Democrats in New Hampshire is by far and away Ron Paul. The record shows he attracted significantly more Democratic voters than Mitt Romney. Add to this the fact that Paul is also more popular among Independent voters and a clear picture is painted. Paul can attract more voters across the board than Mitt Romney if he is the Republican nominee.
Ron Paul’s attraction for Democrats is in his anti-war foreign policy, his commitment to individual liberty, his pledge to balance the budget without cutting Social Security, Medicare, or Veterans’ benefits, and his stance on social issues such as opposition to the so called ‘war on drugs’, and support for racial equality in the justice system.
Examination of the exit polls from the Republican New Hampshire primary also highlight the fact that Ron Paul has a much broader appeal than Romney.
As the Washington Post points out today, “almost seven in ten people who voted for Paul on Tuesday said they would be “dissatisfied” if former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney was the Republican nominee.”
Given that Ron Paul received around 24 percent, that figure alone is significant. Take out those voters and Romney is going to struggle against Obama.
Fully 78 percent of Paul’s New Hampshire support came from those who are dissatisfied or angry with the Obama administration — not surprising given the low regard in which the current president is held by Republicans. But, consider this: 77 percent of Paul’s Granite State supporters in 2008 were similarly upset with the Bush administration. In fact, half of all Paul’s votes four years ago came from voters downright “angry” with a Republican president.
Combine those two data points with the fact that Paul’s vote total more than tripled between 2008 (18,308 votes) and 2012 (56,000 votes and counting) and it’s clear that the Texas Republican’s support is not only primed and ready to follow him wherever he leads but it is also growing.
In an interview on Current TV’s Countdown this week, Matt Taibbi of Rolling Stone explains how Ron Paul would be a stronger candidate against Obama than Romney:
As we reported earlier this week, the polls bear out the fact that Ron Paul is the most electable of the GOP candidates and can mount an effective challenge against Obama.
As analyst Jack Burkman highlighted on Freedom Watch this week, Paul has also been the only candidate in the race with the ability to tap into a real ground swell of support and effectively address Mitt Romney’s flip flopping on many major issues.
Article written by Steve Watson
January 13, 2012