RealClearPolitics gives us the latest Insider Advantage poll of New Hampshire with Rep. Ron Paul at his highest-ever support level: Six percent. That puts him in the running for fourth place, only slightly behind eight-percenters Fred Thompson and Mike Huckabee. (That's also higher than the 3 percent most polls give him.) The breakdowns:
– Paul scores around 8 percent with 18-29 year olds and 30-44 year olds, but most GOP primary voters are over 45.
– Paul wins the biggest chunk of the black vote, 22.2 percent, topping Mitt Romney's 18.5 percent. One problem: There aren't very many black New Hampshire Republicans. Only 27 were sampled in this poll, and Paul won six of them. Hey, he gets bragging rights.
– Paul wins 10.4 percent of moderate voters, better than Fred Thompson or Mike Huckabee.
That last number's interesting because of the X-Factor in the race: whatever New Hampshire's independents do. They've largely soured on Republicans, especially John McCain (who wouldn't have won the 2000 primary without them), and two-thirds of them say they'll vote in the Democratic race. If Barack Obama or John Edwards wins Iowa, they probably will keep their word. But if Hillary Clinton wins Iowa and the Democratic race stops being interesting, how many anti-war independents will vote for Paul? I'm not predicting a Paul win by any means, but it's getting easier to see a New Hampshire primary where the gap between 1st and 2nd place is smaller than Paul's vote… with the loser having made no effort to steal Paul voters away by talking about his issues.
I talked with New Hampshire Republicans about the race back in June. (That picture was taken outside the June CNN debate.)
In related (old) news, Paul won't be at the Republican Jewish Coalition's candidate forum next week. The first reason given: They only invited the "top" candidates. The second reason given, since they included the never-serious Sam Brownback: Paul votes against aid to Israel.