QuiverDaddy has complained loud and often about the media’s assumptions of who is entitled to the name, “frontrunner”. Fox News commentator, Bill O’Reilley, for example has repeatedly stated that Herman Cain and Ron Paul do not matter, dropping both from the results of his online poll in order to give the impression that the GOP rank and file prefer Mitt Romney or Rick Perry.
No doubt, Ron Paul’s very vocal and fiercely loyal minority of young voters do influence online polls where they have been organized through social media for half of his perennial presidential run. However, poll tampering is not a fair charge for the media to level against him in actual straw polls.
FoxNews has not presented any credible sourcing to support the charge that Ron Paul has artificially increased his numbers any more than the wealthier “mainstream” RINOS who buy votes at straw poll events and hire people to cast them. Such tampering was uncovered in the Ames straw poll in Iowa, and it is almost part of the tradition — done to “prove a candidate’s organizational ability”. Since that is within the rules of the event, there s nothing wrong with campaigns showing their organizational strength by purchasing votes. However, the fact that a fringe candidate like Ron Paul consistently does well among his following should not be discounted, regardless of what the Commentariat may think about him. There is something unforgivably un-American about tampering with polls; there is also something un-American about discounting poll results altogether without benefit of some proof.
Bill O’Reilley and FoxNews may not like the implications, but it is not wise to assume that all of Ron Paul’s support is somehow “artificial” or “inflated”. The question is, whether Dr. Paul’s straw poll showings would still be strong apart from the camp followers who trail him like a pack of Grateful Dead groupies. If the media are surprised by Herman Cain’s strong showing, what will they do when Ron Paul shows up in Tampa with enough delegates to make trouble in a brokered convention.