Smear campaign fails as Ron Paul keeps lead in Iowa

Ron Paul (Reuters / Jeff Haynes)
Even as the establishments pulls all the punches it can to try to stop Ron Paul’s campaign for the presidency, the GOP hopeful is still the favorite among voters gearing up for the Iowa caucus.

In their latest quiz and the first official offering since the Christmas holiday, the Public Policy Polling firm has published the results of their latest questionnaire, and once again Texas Congressman Ron Paul has the lead among Republicans in Iowa who plan on participating in the upcoming caucus.

Less than a week away, the Iowa caucus is considered a major step in the road to the White House and traditionally plays a large role in how Republicans will advance in the months leading up to Election Day.

According to the latest polling, Ron Paul remains the top contender for the GOP nod in Iowa, beating out former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney by four percentage points. The newest poll, which grabs from data collected between December 26 and 27, puts Paul as the favorite among 24 percent of the voting pool. The last survey, a pre-Christmas quiz conducted between December 16 and 18, also put Paul in the front with 23 percent of the vote.

Rounding out the top five this time are former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, who pulled in 13 percent and 11 percent favoritism, respectively.

Paul’s ongoing surge comes despite a smear campaign by the establishment that has tried to discredit the candidate in recent weeks over fear that his ideologies outside of the mainstream Republican Party could actually come to fruition if he takes the White House. While his fellow frontrunners are largely cookie-cutter conservatives, Paul’s stance on foreign policy and defense spending has come under attack since he threw his hat in the ring. Other Republican candidates have launched attacks on Paul in hopes of hurting his run for the nomination, but in recent days the mainstream media has focused on a newsletter penned under the congressman’s name from the 1990s. According to the mainstream outlets, the context of the quips link Paul as a racist. The candidate has denied writing the material in question, however, and Paul’s supporters have come to his guard. CNN recently aired an interview in which Paul is perpetrated as walking out of an interview after being questioned about the letters, but an unedited version of the exclusive has since surfaced in which Paul is seen being pestered for nearly ten minutes by the network’s Gloria Borger, who tried to take on congressman with other questions, such as asking him if he would stop running ads against his opponents. When Paul said he would not, she asked him, “Why?” When Borger questions Paul over the newsletters, he questions both the legitimacy of the interviewer and the network for not taking his answers as legitimate and for being “confused.”

When Paul finally walks off the interview, Borger apologizes to Paul, and asks the candidate if he understands why she must pose such questions. “I understand how the system works,” responds the congressman.

Although CNN managed to edit the clip to make the candidate appear agitated, his supporters have stood strong. Even Dan Savage, the openly gay writer behind the syndicated Savage Love column (and started of Rick Santorum’s now notorious “Google problem), told Slate, “Ron is older than my father, far less toxic than Santorum and, as he isn't beloved of religious conservatives, he isn't out there stoking the hatreds of our social and political enemies.”

Meanwhile, Santorum and the rest of the Republican Party are continuing to tackle Paul with everything they can, a maneuver that has so far proved to be unsuccessful. Gingrich has labeled Paul’s views as “totally outside the mainstream of virtually every decent American,” Bachmann says Paul "will not defend United States of America in the event of a nuclear attack” and Santorum has gone after the congressman for his age rather than his reputable career as an elected official.

Combined, Santorum and Gingrich’s polling in the latest survey is still less than what Ron Paul has garnered. “If Paul's lead holds on through next Tuesday it appears he'll have won this on the ground,” adds Public Policy Polling in a press release.