A fifth place on the Iowa straw poll is indeed incredible. I must confess, however, as an eternal optimist, that a third place would have been even better. Nevertheless, when you spend so little in a straw poll and when your opponents invest everything but their very lives, I think you can see why the excitement of Ron Paul supporters continue to grow. Perhaps Andrew Main summarizes it best:
I think Ron Paulís placement in this poll was just about perfect: strong enough to solidly refute the Ďpunditsí ó intellectual followers (not to mention shills) who like to pretend they are leaders ó and provide just enough encouragement to the troops to keep everyone working hard, while still making clear just how far there is still to go. It is, after all, still a year (?) till the nominating convention, 15 months (!) to the actual election. (I shudder to think how much damage Dubya & friends can still do ó but even that might not be bad for the rEVOLution.) Too much early success is not healthy, as many past ísure thingí candidates can attest.
A fifth position solidifies that the Paul campaign is no longer an internet scam on TV polls. This is a crucial victory early on in the campaign. The truth is that if this campaign will thrive in the next few months, Ron Paul supporters will have to multiply. This is already happening in meet-up groups across the country and even on a financial level. Recently, Ron Paul stated that his campaign had raised over $75,000 in 24 hours. As the media has become very much aware, Ron Paulís campaign used the least amount of money in the poll and bore the greatest fruit. Whereas the Romney campaign used the greatest amount of money and bore the least fruit. So far it has been noted that he paid over $500 for each vote, whereas the second place Huckabee, spent under $100. Ron Paulís numbers should be out soon, but we may just assume that he spent under $60 for each vote.† The straw poll in Ames, Iowa is truly not to be taken as the definitive poll on anything this early on the election, rather it serves to point out the ability a candidate has to organize his volunteers and indeed Ron Paul supporters and volunteers once again shattered any misconception that we are merely internet-based.
Another positive element of this straw poll is that it eliminates competition. Out of the 11 candidates, some were counting significantly on their standing in this poll. Tommy Thompson who traveled over 99 counties in Iowa seeking to make a powerful impression, ended behind Ron Paul in sixth place and was left with no other alternative but to step down.† With Thompson out of the race, Paul will have more time to make his positions clear in debates. It truly is a process of elimination. Duncan Hunter is also expected to drop out of the race in the days ahead. Truly, the absurdity of it all is that Ron Paul is the only candidate to reflect the Old Right promoting a foreign policy of non-intervention and a return to Constitutional principles, whereas all other candidates are in general agreement with each other. Hence, the fight becomes one of name recognition and experience. Ron Paulís future is bright and the cause of freedom and peace is the cause of the future. Let the base die and the Revolution continue.