Despite the fact that the mainstream media have pulled no punches against Republican Presidential primary hopeful Ron Paul, his campaign is continuing to gain steam as the Iowa caucus, the first in the Nation, approaches.
Two polls released on Wednesday show Paul in a dead heat with fellow GOP contender Mitt Romney; however, the polls conflict one another, each reporting opposite leaders by similar margins.
A poll conducted by Public Policy Polling shows Paul leading the pack among likely voters in Iowa, with 24 percent saying they would vote for him over Romney’s 20 percent. PPP accredits Paul’s popularity to his ability to unite non-traditional Republicans, independents and some Democratic converts. Romney still takes the most favor among mainstream Republicans.
“If Ron Paul really manages to change the electorate by turning out large numbers of young people and independents, he should win Iowa,” said Dean Debnam, President of Public Policy Polling. “If it’s a more traditional turnout with an older electorate, Romney will probably win. And given his personal popularity it’s worth keeping an eye on [Rick] Santorum in the final week.”
CNN and Time conducted a separate poll that shows Romney leading with 25 percent to Paul’s 22 percent heading in to the caucus. It has been pointed out that the CNN-Time poll — unlike the PPP poll — surveyed only a list of declared Republicans that was provided by the Iowa Secretary of State.
Many people have in the past week questioned if CNN is running a campaign against Paul after the news network repeatedly aired a heavily cut video that makes it appear as if Paul walked out on an interview with reporter Gloria Borger after she asked him the same question several times about controversial newsletters published under his name. The full video of the interview reveals CNN’s sleight-of-hand reporting tactic and portrays the interview in a different light.
Despite the CNN-driven controversy, Paul is continuing to pick up key supporters, some even from the campaigns of fellow candidates. Michele Bachmann’s Iowa campaign chairman, Senator Kent Sorenson, jumped ship on Wednesday to offer his support to Paul’s campaign in a decision that ignited headlines throughout the media.
Sorenson released a statement saying that he had a difficult time choosing which of the two candidates to support from the beginning but, given Paul’s surge in the polls and real chance at the Presidency, he felt joining the campaign was in the best interest of the country.
A portion of Sorenson’s statement reads:
Ron Paul is the only candidate to predict the current mess we find ourselves in economically, and he’s the only candidate to offer a true plan to cut spending and balance our budget.
He’s also consistently spoken out against government spending, assaults on individual liberties, and unnecessary trillion-dollar military adventurism for over 30 years. Polls show he is the Republican candidate that can take on and defeat President Obama in November 2012.
Bachmann denied that Sorenson’s decision was made for love of country but contended in a Wednesday announcement that it was for love of money, saying, “Kent Sorenson personally told me he was offered a large sum of money to go to work for the Paul campaign. Kent campaigned with us earlier this afternoon and went immediately afterward to a Ron Paul event and announced he is changing teams. Kent said to me yesterday that ‘everyone sells out in Iowa, why shouldn’t I,’ then he told me he would stay with our campaign. The Ron Paul campaign has to answer for its actions.”
Despite the accusation from Bachmann, Iowa political director for her own campaign, Wes Enos, denies that money could have been a motivator for Sorenson’s decision. His comments appeared later on Paul’s campaign website.
“I won’t say much about the situation or the conflicting statements beyond this; I can say unequivocally that Kent Sorenson’s decision was in no way financially motivated,” said Enos.
Sorenson’s decision to endorse Paul comes just after one of the Texas Congressman’s former aides, Eric Dondero, attempted to do damage to the campaign by saying Paul is “unsettled by being around gays personally” and is “out of touch” with black and Hispanic voters in an editorial on RightWingNews.com. The Paul campaign described Dondero as “a disgruntled former staffer who was fired for performance issues.”
The New York Times reported Wednesday that despite the flurry of accusations and controversy media and other candidates are drumming up around Paul, droves of college students are currently arriving in Iowa to assist with the ground campaign in the State. The young supporters, whom Paul has embraced in the past as “having a better grasp of the meaning of liberty than many lawmakers in Washington,” are expected to be vital to the success of the Paul campaign.