Bloggers sympathetic to the Democratic Party are revving up attacks on Ron Paul. After last night's performance in the Iowa Republican caucuses, there will be even more incentive to go after Paul who finished a strong third in Iowa despite the typical indifference of the corporate media. (Image from video: Antiwar ad for Paul)
Democrat's generally rely on taking a majority share of independent voters to win national elections. With the supposed partisan split in the electorate, voters identified as independents are even more important this year as a key to winning any national election.
In 2008, increased registrations prior to the general election were primarily by those identifying themselves as Democrats and independents. President Obama took 41% of those identified as independents in the 2008 Iowa Caucuses. His Iowa win established credibility that allowed him to survive losses in New Hampshire and Pennsylvania. His triumphal procession through Mid-Atlantic States that followed those losses might not have happened without those Iowa independents providing an early win.
The Ron Paul numbers from the CNN Entrance Poll show an appeal to traditionally Democratic groups critical to the 2012 general election. (An entrance poll surveys voters on voting preference and demographics before they vote). The Republican independents may not be a perfect match for independents in 2008. However, where else could Iowa independents vote yesterday?
Paul Appeals to Key Age Groups
Ron Paul came close to a majority of Iowa caucus voters with 49% of the 17-24 year old vote. Nationwide youth unemployment is at record levels. Iowa has some insulation from the national trend. This makes the Paul appeal to youth a potent indicator. If he polls like this in Iowa, how will he do in the larger states, DNC types may be asking? Paul also took 36% of the 30-39 age group. If you are new to the job market or getting ready for your prime earning period (the 30 something's), you are listening to Ron Paul's anti-establishment message.
Paul Appeals to Lower Income Voters
Democrats rely on a secure base among low income voters, particularly minority voters. Iowa is a predominantly white electorate. However, these numbers must be cause of concern. Paul support increases as they go down. This is a Libertarian Republican campaigning for a tightly restrained foreign policy and a pro small business, anti big government platform. But look at this.
If you are an Iowan and make less than $50,000 a year, you're likely to prefer Paul.
Paul Preferred by Moderate to Liberal Voters Surveyed
Once again, Paul confounded expectations. The more moderate to liberal you are in Iowa, the more likely you are to support Ron Paul.
He edges out soon-to-seem moderate Mitt Romney by four points with a strong showing of 39% of those surveyed in the CNN entrance poll.