All right, all right. A commenter took me to task for saying I don't expect Ron Paul to win the nomination, and I think I agree not to prognosticate in that fashion any more, just report on what happens. That also means I'll refrain from giddy predictions that he's going to win. You're just as well off. My political crystal ball has never been all that reliable.
At any rate, there's interesting news to report. Last Thursday the Illinois Republican Party held a straw poll at the Illinois State Fair. Romney, who bused people in, paid their admission and bought them meals and refreshments, got 40.35 percent. Fred Thompson got 19.96 percent. And Ron Paul came in third, with 18.87 percent, well ahead of Giuliani (11.61), McCain (4.12), Huckabee (3.04) Brownback(1.08), Hunter and Tancredo. Naturally, the CNN report missed the most interesting aspect of the story.
On Saturday the West Alabama Republican Assemblyhad a straw poll that Ron Paul won big, with 216 votes (Romney, second, got 14). Also, Strafford County, New Hampshire had a straw poll, and Dr. Paul got 208, to second-place Romney's 26 and Huckabee's 20.
Now these are not exactly gigantic venues that are necessarily representative of American voterdom as a wholoe. Nonetheless, these victories mean Ron Paul is more popular in certain quarters than any of the conventional media had any idea about (beyond Internet junkies), or his people are doing some effective organizing. Probably both.