Courtesy of Gallup, here's something to put in your "unelectable" pipe and smoke:
Those are just amazing numbers, considering where Ron Paul was four years ago. Speaking of which, the chart below is Exhibit A for why I continue to say that it's WAAAAY too early to be making confident assertions about the very fluid GOP race, and that if you must annoint a "top tier" it had better include a certain doctor-congressman who performed well in 2008 and has only gathered strength since:
Missed it by that much, Fred Thompson!
The above is from polls aggregated by Real Clear Politics, who have a bookmark-worthy feature showing where polls had the race exactly four years ago on any given day.
Over at The Atlantic, Conor Friedersdorf makes what I think is a shrewd point about the pathologies behind disporportionate media preference for the heretical John Huntsman over the heretical Ron Paul (and Gary Johnson):
Huntsman is challenging orthodoxies of thought that afflict the GOP alone, and taking positions that reflect the conventional wisdom in the media: evolution is a fact, so is climate change, and the debt ceiling had to be raised. In contrast, Johnson and Paul are challenging orthodoxies of thought that are bi-partisan in nature and implicate much of the political and media establishment.
There is a strong case to be made that their libertarian voices are more vital. The debt ceiling was already raised. Embracing evolution has some political costs in a GOP primary, but matters very little when it comes to the vital policy questions that the next president is going to face. Huntsman nonetheless wins praise for those stances. For questioning America's aggressive, interventionist foreign policy and its failed War on Drugs, policies that are tremendously costly, consequential, and executed in ways that are immoral and demonstrably damaging to our civil liberties, Paul and Johnson aren't given points for speaking uncomfortable truths, shining light on evasions, or affecting the political conversation for the better.
They're ignored, and the excuse given is that they can't win. [...]
In the twisted thought process of the political press, one's party is always the point of reference, bucking it is the ultimate act of bravery, and the proper object of a "protest candidacy" is encouraging one's party to embrace the bipartisan consensus of the moment.