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Politics

Ron Paul Gaining Traction in Iowa

November 29, 2011 - 6:00pm

Following a strong second-place showing in the Iowa Republican straw poll in August, the campaign team behind U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, now making his second bid for the Republican presidential nomination and his third attempt at the White House, focused on the Hawkeye State this week.

Iowa will hold its caucus Jan. 3 to kick off the procession of states that will determine the Republican nominee to challenge President Barack Obama in 2012.

Paul took just less than 10 percent in Iowa to place fifth in 2008, but two polls released this week indicate the maverick congressman is poised to do better in 2012. On Wednesday, the Paul team pointed to two polls released Tuesday that show Paul in the top tier, but far behind former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich.

Gingrich leads a We Ask America poll of Iowa Republicans with 29 percent, followed by U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota and former Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts tied for second with 13 percent each. Paul takes fourth with 11 percent, followed by businessman Herman Cain with 7 percent. Gov. Rick Perry of Texas and former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania take 5 percent apiece, followed by former Gov. Jon Huntsman of Utah with 4 percent. The poll of 962 likely Iowa Republican caucus voters was taken Nov. 28 and had a margin of error of +/- 3.16 percent.

Gingrich also tops an Insider Advantage Iowa poll with 28 percent, but Paul places second in this poll with 13 percent, followed by Romney with 12 percent. Cain and Bachmann tied for fourth with 10 percent each, followed by Perry with 7 percent and Santorum with 3 percent. The poll of 509 likely Iowa Republican caucus voters was taken Nov. 28 and had a margin of error of +/- 4 percent.

The latest poll results clearly prove Ron Pauls status as a top contender, and confirms that our campaign is continuing to surge in early states, said Jesse Benton, Pauls campaign chairman, in a statement released Wednesday. The American people are ready for real change in Washington and Dr. Paul is the only candidate who has a plan to cut $1 trillion in spending, balance the budget, and restore prosperity to the American people.

With Paul doing well among young voters in Iowa -- taking 47 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds in the InsiderAdvantage poll -- his team is looking to organize them for the caucus. They will be holding Youth for Ron Paul rallies at Iowa State University in Ames on Dec. 8 and the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls on Dec. 9. In less than three months, the campaign has set up more than 300 youth organizations with more than 15,300 Paul backers in 46 states.

The enthusiastic support for Ron Paul continues to grow, especially among college students, Edward King, Pauls national youth director, said in a statement. Young people understand he is the only presidential candidate who will fix our economy, so theyre eager not only to vote for him, but also to volunteer for his campaign.

Reach Kevin Derby at kderby@sunshinestatenews.com or at (850) 727-0859.

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