After this weekend's votes in Nevada, Maine, and Iowa, Ron Paul's supporters have become a force to be reckoned with at the highest levels of Republican politics.
Starting August 27 in Tampa, Florida, the highest legislative body of the Republican Party – the Republican National Convention – will convene to handle party business and choose a Republican nominee to face off against Barack Obama.
At present, no single Republican nominee is even close to clinching the 1,044 national delegates needed to win the nomination. This includes Mitt Romney, who after spending $80 million convincing GOP voters to like him, continues to underwhelm.
"These voters hate Mitt Romney with a passion, and don't believe he's got much of a chance against [President Obama], but many have already been resigned to the fact that it's either Romney or Obama. Their misinformation about who is still in the race is great for Romney, but sad for the Republican Party, since Ron Paul and his big tent of supporters offers the GOP a real chance for growth," said a phone pollster who conducts thousands of weekly surveys to Republican voters in southern states.
"Most people don't realize it, but when you ask people about the issues they care most about, overwhelmingly Americans stand with Ron Paul on the issues, while being almost entirely in disagreement with Obama or Romney. It's ironic how many people have their ideal candidate running for office right now – Ron Paul – but for whatever reason don't realize it. "
Many Republicans know little of Ron Paul, despite his swelling ranks. Left with the better of two evils choice of Romney or Obama, Republicans are flocking to Ron Paul. Over the last several weeks, Paul has been overwhelmingly chosen as the nominee in numerous states by people who are traditionally the staunchest and most active of Republicans – party delegates.
Under RNC rules, any delegate who is supported by more than five state delegations can become a party nominee. As of this weekend, that means just Ron Paul and Mitt Romney are eligible to face Obama.
The question remains: Which of those will Obama face? Despite the widely expressed opinions of many pro-Romney establishment pundits, the nomination process remains entirely up in the air. In years past, when there is no clear nominee, a brokered convention has taken place. When that happens, it becomes very difficult to predict the outcome.
Who, after all, might have guessed that underdog Warren G. Harding could have walked into the brokered 1920 Republican National Convention with only 7% of the delegates before going on to become the party nominee and American president just months later?
Pro-Romney pundits are naturally doing what they can to bolster the likelihood of a Romney nomination. However, their allegedly unbiased and allegedly accurate delegate counts assembled by pro-Romney journalists and pundits borders on fraudulent, especially with so many states undecided. At this point in the race, many are questioning whether Romney has any chance of winning that nomination.
"We call them 'anybody but' voters. It used to be 'anybody but Obama,' but now they are starting to talk about 'anybody but Romney,'" said the pollster.
With Ron Paul surging and Romney dragging, Republicans are increasingly taking note of Paul – the other Republican, who is proving very competitive across the U.S. Just months ago, before his delegate strategy began to bear fruit, he had been discounted, but today, it is clear Ron Paul will be in this race through the RNC and is as well poised as Romney to appear on the RNC ballot as one of two options to face Barack Obama in the autumn.
The pollster added, "Considering the polling data, Paul's the preferable option to face off against Obama. Paul wins youth, swing voters, middle class voters, those who traditionally do not vote, and even pulls from Democrats when paired against Obama. Romney does none of that."