Independent Run by Ron Paul Would Pull 17 percent of Presidential Vote: New Reason-Rupe Poll

As Mitt Romney looks to sew up the Republican presidential nomination, the just-released Reason-Rupe Foundation poll shows that Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) could play the spoiler if he mounted an independent campaign by making it virtually impossible for the GOP candidate to beat Barack Obama.

"Ron Paul would probably take about 17 to 18 percent of the national vote," says Reason Polling Director Emily Ekins. While Paul would pull votes from both candidates, he would take more from Romney. The newest version of the quarterly Reason-Rupe Public Opinion Survey of 1,200 U.S. adults was conducted March 10-20, 2012. Full results and discussion are online here .

The poll shows that Romney has pulled well ahead of GOP rivals Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, and Ron Paul among Republican voters. President Obama maintains an edge over Romney in a head-to-head matchup, but both are below 50 percent, says Ekins, with the incumbent beating Romney by 46 percent to 40 percent. And in a three-way race among Obama, Romney, and Paul running as an independent, the totals change to Obama with 41 percent, Romney with 30 percent, and Paul with 17 percent.

In an interview with Reason's Nick Gillespie, Ekins also talked about how Americans are wary of war with Iran (only 37 percent support military intervention if such actions will cause "a war that is similar in length and costs to the war in Iraq") and support for an overhaul of tax policy (45 percent support a shift to a flat tax versus 41 percent opposed).

In a previous interview, Ekins talked about the unpopularity of the Affordable Care Act. Watch that here and read full poll results here.

4.30 minutes. Filmed by Jim Epstein & Meredith Bragg. Edited by Joshua Swain.

Subscribe to Reason.tv's YouTube channel to receive automatic notification when new material goes live and go to http://reason.tv for downloadable versions of our videos.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • West Texas||

    All the more reason for Mittens to play nice.

    The whole "alliance" thing wasn't just for some stupid game, despite the media's conjecture.

  • Newt Paul||

    A vote for me is a vote for Obama! ~Newt Paul

    NEVER MIND WHAT I SIGNED

  • ||

    A vote for Romney is a vote for Obama! ~Team Purple

  • Richard ||

    He's said a dozen times he has no interest in running as an independent. Also, third party support tends to dry up as the election gets closer and voters feel the need to pick a "real" candidate.

    And finally, your "national vote" is almost meaningless, and it looks like you didn't bother to break this down by swing-states to see what actually affects the Electoral College.

  • ||

    Agreed.

    I expect an independent run by Ron Paul would get 5 - 7% of the vote once the media frenzy about votes being split away from "serious" contenders.

  • Ryan||

    5-7% is probably a closer estimate, but it could still have a significant effect regardless.

  • Barry D||

    But would the votes all come from those who would otherwise vote for Romney?

    If it's 50-50, it's a wash. If Paul gets 7% of the vote, but 5 of the 7 come from people who would have stayed home on November 6, it's close to a wash regardless.

    Can Paul's voting bloc be equated with loyal Republican voters, at all?

    I doubt it.

  • ||

    I doubt there would really be a "media frenzy" if anything the media would probably try their best to make Paul seem like a legitimate candidate. Because although they certainly don't like Ron Paul, they absolutely ADORE Barack Obama. And the "unbiased" media will do anything that helps their boy get re-elected.

  • robc||

    Where was Perot polling in late March 1992?

  • Hadouken||

    By June he was polling at 39% versus Bush and Clinton at 31% and 25% respectively.

  • Appalachian Australian||

    What's happened to Nick Gillespie? This is the second interview where he is not only missing his jacket, but he isn't even wearing all black.

    Did Ms. Ekins require that he dress in a normal shirt in order to get an interview? Are the shoulderboards his act of quiet rebellion?

  • WWNGD?||

    I wouldn't worry too much unless he starts to grow a weasel on his face.

  • Science is Fun||

    Just as a caterpillar changes and motes it’s cocoon, Nick seems to have finely broken out of the jacket.

  • Jimmy McMillan||

    Ron Paul (R-Texas) could play the spoiler

    What am I, chopped liver?

    Also, The Rent is Too Damn High!

  • buddy roemer||

    what?

  • Fred Karger||

    Who's Buddy Roemer?

  • Exactly||

    .

  • Doktor Kapitalism||

    You should run as Gary Johnson's VP. That could pick up the gay vote, to some extent.

  • ||

    Paul should just go to the convention and say, "Me, or Obama. If you nominate anyone else, I'm running independent, and he wins." Then he should break into song. Preferably something metal, as selected with care by Warty.

  • mr simple||

    It will be Pat Boone all over again.

  • ||

    I see that you share my vision.

  • ||

    why does it say under genre: 'swing'?
    a swing version of 'Smoke on the Water'?

  • mr simple||

    That's just Wikipedia's liberal bias showing.

  • o5||

    cause music's all commie n stuff.
    cept for martial music...n country.
    yea

  • Zeb||

    You need to hear it to understand.

  • Drax the Destroyer||

    I nominate Leviathan Rising by Redemption as Paul's independent ticket theme song. Plenty of Megadeth would have sufficed but...Mustaine's lost his mind since he traded drugs for god.

  • WWNGD?||

    I think a better choice would be "Shut your F'n Mouth and Use Your F'n Brain" by the Wildhearts.

  • ||

    I think you may be missing the point of being in a political party and competing in primaries.

  • Dirty Old Libertarian||

    Good Lord! Emily is gorgeous! What a bewitching smile. And those eyes; I could look into them all day...and night.

    Smart, too. I like that.

  • Appalachian Australian||

    Perhaps her intoxicating gaze is what persuaded Jacket to take off his, well, jacket.

  • ||

    She can discuss politics and polling and sampling data with me for as LONG as she wants !

  • cedric||

    awesomesauce!

  • sarcasmic||

    I am so in lust with that young lady.

  • thirtyandseven||

  • thirtyandseven||

    ^^ in reply to Pro Libertate above at http://reason.com/blog/2012/03.....nt_2945526

    Threaded comments are hard.

  • ||

    Great strategy! On Election Night, when Pauloids and "libertarians" have succeeded in re-electing Obama, they can all high-five and fist-bump each other, then go into hiding as Tea Partiers start organizing to hunt them down.

  • Appalachian Australian||

    Who cares if Obama wins?

    I won't be able to discern the difference between that and Mr Romney.

  • Drax the Destroyer||

    Seconded. Unless Romney promises contractually to resign if he doesn't relinquish ill-gotten executive powers within 20 minutes of being in the Oval Office, it doesn't matter on iota if the next president is a alleged secret muslim or a devout mormon. Shit still stinks no matter the color.

  • ||

    Maybe he's a secret libertarian? Would explain the odd relationship between him and Paul.

  • CE||

    Since we all know Romney's really a robot, wouldn't it be cool if some Ron Paul supporting techie had secretly reprogrammed it last year, in anticipation of which way the Republican race would go?

  • ||

    Turning that frown upside down!

  • sarcasmic||

    Sad but true.

  • Mike M.||

    I won't be able to discern the difference between that and Mr Romney.

    Maybe you won't, but I will. For starters, Romney has basically pledged to support the Paul Ryan budget.

    Much more importantly, Romney doesn't actively want to destroy the country like Obama does. Under Romney we'll actually be allowed to build the whole damn Keystone pipeline up to Canada, drill for oil onshore and offshore, and build more coal-fired plants if need be.

  • sarcasmic||

    Romney has basically pledged to support the Paul Ryan budget

    The one that depends on other people following it for almost thirty years before balancing the budget?

    Big fucking whoop.

  • ||

    Maybe he would support the Ron Paul budget, if there was one.

  • hazeeran||

  • Zeb||

    "Romney doesn't actively want to destroy the country like Obama does"

    That's what you think.

  • Concerned Liberal (maybe)||

    Under Romney we'll actually be allowed to build the whole damn Keystone pipeline up to Canada, drill for oil onshore and offshore, and build more coal-fired plants if need be.

    Sounds suspiciously like "destroying the country" to me.

  • Mike M.||

    Then you need a checkup from the neck up.

  • Doktor Kapitalism||

    I chuckled softly.

  • ||

    Have you even READ the Paul Ryan budget? Didn't think so. The guy should have nothing to do with any finance committee, let alone being in politics.

  • ||

    I would say you would, because Romney will help pull in more conservatives into the Senate and House. They in turn will pass legislation to repeal/weaken that passed under Obama, which Romney will be forced to sign, even if unhappy to do so.

    Romney has said that he will repeal Obamacare. Do you doubt that if the Congress sent him a bill doing just that, he would veto it?

    C'mon, get serious.

  • ||

    More conservatives into the house is an even worse idea than what we already have. Perhaps you mistook this site for Free Republic?

  • ||

    Anyone who cannot legitimately discern the difference between Obama and Romney OUGHT to turn in their drivers license, and declare themselves the mental equivalent of a second-grader !
    Good Lord, man, how ideologically craven must someone be to make such a preposterous statement ?

  • NoVAHockey||

    Please. Our compounds are stocked and fortified.

  • Brandon||

    With enough monocles to last for years. Decades, even.

  • DJF||

    The Republican leadership would rather have Obama then Paul. Obama’s polices are much closer to them

  • ||

    More closer than Bush Junior, Senior, and Reagan for the Trifecta.

  • Bill||

    If the economy goes downhill and we have 10% inflation (assuming they don't just change the definition again) in a few years, then Obama would get all the blame he rightly deserves.

    If he is defeated and all that happens, then the new president and that party get the blame.

    If Paul is the VP, libertarian policies will be blamed for sure. (No, I'm not paranoid).

    Plus, if he's re-elected we get to see if he really is the anti-christ. (cue satanic music)

  • DarrenM.||

    If Paul is the VP, libertarian policies will be blamed for sure. (No, I'm not paranoid).

    Libs already blame the cutthroat laissez faire capitalism we've been subjected to for the past 30 years. (Starving children. Third world living conditions. If only the holy government had done something to reign in the thieves.)

  • NadePaulKuciGravMcKi||

    game over ... Romney Robot

  • James Bozman||

    Ron Paul could ONLY play spoiler.

    He would have NO CHANCE of winning because he would not be eligible to be on the ballot in about half the states because of sore loser laws.

    If he wants to make a real impact, he should endorse Gary Johnson. That would get at least most of the Paul or no one crowd to vote for Johnson and push his poll numbers up enough to get into the debates.

    Even if Johnson does not win (which he probably won't), in most states he will pass the ballot access threshold of 2-5% of the last presidential election.

    This would allow down ticket Libertarians ballot access without having to go through the petition process just to get on the ballot.

  • Appalachian Australian||

    When I was at the 1996 U.S. Taxpayers Party convention, we were all hoping Buchanan would do just that, which would have made ballot access a lot less of a nightmare going forward.

    The Republican Party is ideally situated right now to be abandoned and destroyed.

  • CE||

    The sore loser laws are no barrier at all. Ron Paul wouldn't be on the presidential ballot; electors pledged to him would be.

  • CE||

    Good luck with pushing GJ up to the 15 percent threshold needed for inclusion in the debates. They jacked it up from 5 percent after Perot scared the bejeezus out of them.

    Ron Paul is over 15 percent already, according to Reason's poll.

  • Doktor Kapitalism||

    If this really is about spreading the message (and promoting the future), Paul should run LP again, push 15% in the polls to get into the debates, and then loose (as if that weren't the only option).

  • Romulus Augustus||

    Ron Paul is building a CFL data base of supporters that can be used to raise gobs of money for Rand Paul and other libertarian-leaning Republicans in future years. No doubt, he will get a hefty "consulting fee" from CFL.
    I doubt he will jeopardize all that potential by running independent or endorsing, say, Gary Johnson. After Tampa, he will fade back to Texas and
    CFL will start laying the groundwork for 2014.

  • Zeb||

    What does this have to do with compact fluorescent lights?

  • sarcasmic||

    I was thinking the same thing.

  • Old Mexican||

    Campaign
    For
    Liberty

    with

    Compact
    Fluorescent
    Lights

    Those
    White-Blue
    Awful
    Things

  • If you like gambol lockdown...||

    ...you'll love the lockdown on primitive incandescent lights.

  • Richard||

    I don't think Romney stands for liberty any more than Obama. I do think he is more easily cowed by the public, and therefore a marginally better choice than Obama.

    Ron Paul is clearly the only one who puts principle before party, but he doesn't have a reasonable chance of winning at this point.

    Johnson doesn't have a chance either, but I think it would be very good to have him in the debates. Big government Democrat vs Big Government Republican isn't much of a choice.

  • DarrenM.||

    I don't think Romney stands for liberty any more than Obama. I do think he is more easily cowed by the public, and therefore a marginally better choice than Obama.

    It's simply really. Just ask yourself which polls each of them pays attention to?

  • Rev. Blue Moon ||

    If he doesn't run as an independent, I guess he doesn't really want to be President after all.

    Think about it.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Rev. Blue Moon,

    If he doesn't run as an independent, I guess he doesn't really want to be President after all.


    Rue the day a person for whom the Presidency is so desirable it hurts him becomes president.

  • ||

    "Rue the day?" Who talks like that?

  • ||

  • ||

    I was stealing a Real Genius quote.

  • Brandon||

    Wasn't that day in like the 30's?

  • ||

    Ah, the heyday of outdated mannerisms.

  • ||

    Today IS that day ! ! !
    Haven't you heard that Obama, as a 19-year-old student, said that he needed to become
    President of the U.S. ?
    So, now he is our President, in the worst way possible !

  • ||

    I thought about it and it made no sense. He isn't going to win the Republican nomination and he isn't contesting the Libertarian nomination. So if he wants to be President, he should now form up some half-assed third party and run against Obama, Romney, and Gary Johnson?

  • Doktor Kapitalism||

    If Ron Paul runs independent, he would snatch up almost all the libertarian votes.

  • Tim||

    Ekins is a natural for Reason TV. I'm glad Nick decided not to sacrifice her to Cthulu.

  • ||

    What thing you missed is that undecided voters go for the challenger. So the number to watch isn't whether Obama has a higher percentage than the Republican alternative but only if Obama has a percentage of 50% or more. If he has less, he loses regardless what the other percentages seem to indicate.

  • shrike||

    Britain Deserves Better

  • ||

    If these poll results are accurate, then RP running would also ensure an Obama victory.

  • slutmonkey||

    Emily Ekins is a statistics hero. She's smart AND hot. Do want.

  • slutmonkey||

    And she's 'director of polling'. Best job title ever.

  • _||

    92% of those surveyed think she's hot.

    8% are teh gay.

  • Doktor Kapitalism||

    Late to the party, I know.

    In 2008:

    Ron Paul recieved 41,905 votes

    Bob Barr recieved 523,686 votes

    Chuck Baldwin recieved 199,314 votes

    Let us assume 10,000 Libertarians (who would have voted Paul, had he ran) voted Democrat, and 15,000 voted Republican.

    If we assume that the Paul votes hold steady, 500,000 Libertarians, and 50,000 Constitutionists vote Paul, then that yields:

    619,905 votes for Paul, assuming he makes no serious in-roads into the Republican and Democratic voting strength. That's--drum roll, please--about 0.5% of the popular vote.

    Hopefully I underestimated.

  • mike||

    when somebody tells me how he is actually going to carry enough states to get to 270 I'll start paying more attention

  • ||

    Hate to play spoiler, but Ron Paul doesn't matter. Gillespie and Welch get it wrong in the independent movement. Let's say Paul becomes president, what's going to happen? He's only president. There are still 535 other elected officials with a different agenda to stifle him.

    Once a democracy or representative republic realizes voters can be bought with their own money, it's game over.

    What the hell are the independents going to do? Collations still have to be formed, money still has to be distributed in a representative republic.

    King George really wasn't as bad as everyone thought.

  • np||

    It's true that as President, he couldn't actively makes things happen by himself. But people forget is the power given to him to regularly use (even though it hasn't for a while): VETO power

    Likewise, executive orders can by used to undo laws. Congress can *make* laws, presidents with Veto, EO and pardon powers can (effectively) *unmake* them.

  • Sanjuro Tsubaki||

    This poll confirms that an independent Ron Paul candidacy would be humiliated by the losing Republicrat candidate. It also confirmed that the Republican field in general is weak and Obama has the incumbent's advantage...duh. What the Reason Rube Poll failed to point out was that none of this matters because Obama this Romney that, they're all the same. C'mon, what happened to that mantra? Is it too "last week" or something? Keep posing and polling, "l"ibertarians. You'll be politically relevant one of these centuries, sure thing!

  • ||

    Not sure how I'd react if Ron Paul ran as an Independent. In the Libertrian race Gary Johnson is pretty much a shoe-in for the nomination. If Paul got on the ballot here in Texas as an Independent I'd have a difficult choice which one to go with.

  • Thomas O.||

    The best thing for Mitt to do, to stave off an indie Paul run, is promise him a Cabinet position - preferably Secretary of the Treasury - if he doesn't launch his own White House bid. I'm not too keen on giving Paul the VP position, the GOP would fare better giving that to someone like Jindal or Paul Ryan.

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Progressive Puritans: From e-cigs to sex classifieds, the once transgressive left wants to criminalize fun.
  • Port Authoritarians: Chris Christie’s Bridgegate scandal
  • The Menace of Secret Government: Obama’s proposed intelligence reforms don’t safeguard civil liberties

SUBSCRIBE

advertisement