Ron Paul

Fox News Calls 2nd Place for Ron Paul

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Link here. Current percentages are 36-24-18, Romney-Paul-Huntsman. I have no idea how Huntsman, who tried to Santorum New Hampshire, can recover from a third-place finish there, though he just told CNN that there will be "three tickets out of New Hampshire," etc.

We'll be updating throughout the night, including our various eyes on the ground. But if these numbers hold up, Huntsman and Rick Perry don't seem long for this world, and the second-place position after the first two elections belongs to the guy who finished 5th-5th four years ago: Ron Paul.

8:23: CNN now projects Ron Paul in 2nd, Huntsman in 3rd.

8:29: Have you ever watched a Mitt Romney stump speech this election cycle? Don't start now. Or shall I say, just go to Youtube; chances are you'll see the exact same talk as he's giving right now. Ron Paul, I would think, can't wait to get the other non-Romneys out of this campaign. That moment would/will be interesting indeed.

8:54: Exit polls are more interesting in early-state primaries than just about anywhere else. What do they show? Paul stomps Romney among the under-30 crowd, 46%-21%. Also among those who hadn't previously voted in a GOP primary (37-22). Among "independents or something else," which make up 47% of the electorate, Paul squeaked out a plurality: 31-27-23 (Huntsman). Huntsman, meanwhile, dominated among Democrats: 41-22 (Paul)-12 (Romney). Republicans preferred Romney over Paul, 45-15. More in a minute after Ron Paul speaks.

9:16: "We are dangerous to the status quo of this country!" And: "What should the role of government be in a free society? … The role should be to protect … our … LIBERTY!" "Freedom is a wonderful idea….Freedom is popular, don't you know that?" Also, "maldistribution"–DRINK! Rip-roaring and rambling, giddier than I've ever remembered, and 100% Paul-thentic.

9:25: More fun with exit polls–atheists totally love Ron Paul! (48% to Huntsman's 23 & Romney's 19.) A more important number, which is bad for Paul and mirrors what happened in Iowa, is that those for whom the economy is the #1 issue, the preferred choice is Mitt Romney, 42-21. Paul has convinced people that he's the debt/deficit/cut-government guy, but not that those policies will help the economy.

Another repeat oddity from Iowa exit polling: Paul does not win among those who describe themselves as "very conservative" (33-26-18, Romney-Santorum-Paul), but he does win among those for whom the #1 issue is backing a "true conservative" (42 Paul, 21 Santorum, 16 Gingrich, 14 Romney). The former category, obviously, is bigger than the latter. And Romney's main selling proposition continues to be electability: A ginormous 62% of people for whom beating Barack Obama is the #1 issue voted for Mitt Romney.

Final note on exit polls: Why, oh why isn't foreign policy a category here, people? For crying out loud, this stuff's important!