Friday, December 30, 2011

Ron Paul's Chances: Seeing is Believing

     Supposedly, everybody "knows" that Ron Paul can't win, but nobody seems to know how he "knows," and we're not even supposed to question this assumption.  It's my experience that, when everybody "knows" something, and so forth, the assumption is the result of deliberate manipulation and is probably wrong.
      When was the last time you heard someone say, "I really like Herman Cain, but he can't win; so I'll vote for (name)"?  Oh, you never have?  Well, when was the last time you heard someone say that about Michele Bachmann, Jon Huntsman, Gary Johnson, Fred Karger, Andy Martin, Jimmy McMillan, Tom Miller, Buddy Roemer, Rick Santorum, Matt Snyder, or Vern Wuensche?  Oh, you never have?  
     Way back in 1979 and early 1980, I heard that all the time about Ronald Reagan: that we needed to vote for George H. W. Bush because Ronald Reagan didn't have a chance of beating Jimmy Carter.  Have you noticed that the only time you hear that canard at the national level is when a popular candidate poses a credible threat to one of the Establishment's hand-picked candidates?  
     Now we're hearing it about Ron Paul.  To test whether there was any truth to this canard, I consulted Google Trends.  No, Google Trends is not by any means a national polling service.
     You see, polling services ask people who may or not be interested in voting that year just how they intend to vote.  At least a third of them aren't going to vote, over two thirds of them won't vote in a primary, and fewer than that will go to the trouble of participating in caucuses, but they respond to surveys anyway.  Why not?  It doesn't cost them any effort to answer a question over the telephone.  
     No, Google Trends measures only two things: how much news coverage a person or topic gets during a given period, and how much Internet interest a topic or person generates during that same period.  People answer surveys whether they're interested in a candidate or not.  They search a candidate on the Internet only if their interested in him or her.
     Internet interest doesn't necessarily mean support, but there can be no support without interest.  Use discretion in reading these charts.  If there are fewer searches on Barack Obama than on Ron Paul, for example, Obama already generates enough reading material via the newspapers.
     Below, in order of the dates for Republican primaries from January 3 until Super Tuesday on March 6, are charts revealing Internet interest (over the last 30 days) in Ron Paul, Mitt Romney, Barack Obama, Rick Perry and Newt Gingrich in each of the primary and caucus states through Super Tuesday.  Sorry.  Google Trends measures only five entries at a time.  The first chart is for the United States as a whole.  The rest are for individual states.  The upper sets of lines are for Internet searches.  The lower sets are for news reports.
     Ron Paul should make an impressive showing in New Hampshire, but I'm not prepared to predict a win.
     I'm from South Carolina.  South Carolina is definitely Ron Paul country.  
     Because Maine is a caucus state, and Ron Paul tends to do well in caucuses, I think he'll do well in Maine.

     Michele Bachmann will probably do well in Minnesota, but I'm confident that Ron Paul will win.

     The Super Tuesday primaries and caucuses are not winner-take-all contests.  Delegates will be assigned in proportion to the percentage of the votes each candidate receives.
     Because there was not enough Internet traffic for Alaska, I'm putting it on the same page as the results for Georgia.  The chart refers only to Georgia.  Alaska is a caucus state.  Ron Paul will win.  He'll also win in Idaho (below).
     Chalk up a win for Ron Paul in North Dakota.  The chart below is for Ohio.

     Unless the political climate in Vermont (below) has changed over the past four years, Vermont is not Ron Paul country.  Paul has the added disadvantage of Vermont being a primary state.  
     On the surface, Virginia looks very good for him, in spite of the big support for Romney in the Arlington area.  Since Romney and Paul are the only candidates on the ballot for Virginia, we can expect that Romney will pick up the Establishment vote (such as Gingrich's supporters), while Paul will garner the anti-establishment vote.  It should be interesting.
          I chose not to look at traffic for states after Super Tuesday because the primaries and caucuses prior to (and including) March 6 will heavily influence the dynamics of the remaining primaries.  Draw your own conclusions.
     How do you account for the stunning lack of interest in Romney, Perry, and Gingrich, even as opinion surveys show major support for these three candidates?  It appears that their "support" is mainly due to voter desire to find an alternative to Barack Obama, and that the corporate-owned media have these shallow "supporters" convinced that Ron Paul can't win.  If this is the case, then Google Trends is a far more reliable measure of Ron Paul's popularity than the opinion polls could ever be.
     Just ask yourself, when was the last time you heard an average voter say that he's voting for Romney, Gingrich, or Perry because he thinks that person will be good for the country?  Chances are, you never have.  That would explain why so few people seek information about them on the Internet.
     To secure the nomination, Ron Paul has only one further need.  People who say, "I like Ron Paul, but..." should get off their "buts" and place their votes where their hearts are.

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