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Fred Thompson Versus Ron Paul in New Hampshire

October 13, 2007

 Cross-posted at Grizzly Groundswell

 I have been following the primary process rather closely and I believe I am seeing a trend in the voters of New Hampshire, or two trends actually. I am seeing the decline of Fred Thompson, and the rise of Ron Paul. I know this seems illogical, but let me try to explain the trends I am beginning to notice. There is no science here, and no polling, just my observations so take them for what you will.

 Let me first start with Fred Thompson. New Hampshire takes being the first in the nation primary very seriously, it’s New Hampshire’s thing. Once every four years New Hampshire is in the national spotlight. Democrats have been trying to take New Hampshire’s thing away for many years, this year the assault on the first in the nation primary was the worst ever. Democrats believe that New Hampshire is too white and does not adequately represent a cross section of America. The Democrats have threatened to take New Hampshire’s delegates away from the national convention, and we have just last week seen four major candidates remove their names from the Michigan primary ballots. The removal of their names was the latest attempt to sway New Hampshire, who has not yet set a primary date in stone, to have New Hampshire ease up on our thing.

 So what does this have to do with Fred Thompson? Part of what makes the primary season in New Hampshire special to the New Hampshire voters is how we are able to interact with the candidates. Presidential hopefuls come to small towns all across the state and hold town hall meetings, breakfasts, and other events. It is a chance for presidential candidates to interact with the voters, it can be quite informal at times and quite intimate. Fred Thompson drew some ire with the voters of New Hampshire by not showing up for the debate that was held in New Hampshire. Instead he went on late night television to announce his candidacy. Voters felt he would have been better off announcing his candidacy before the debate and then participate, they felt slighted. Secondly, after he announced his candidacy he appeared in New Hampshire with the promise that we would see allot more of him. We haven’t. He has come back to New Hampshire a total of zero times. This does not sit well with New Hampshire voters. They have not had the time to sit down and listen and talk to him. I believe this is making voters resentful of Fred Thompson.

 Is this childish, or immature? Maybe, but New Hampshire voters have not had the chance to hear him speak in person. They have not had the chance to talk to him face to face. They have not had the chance to get to know him, and this is what I believe is currently hurting him in New Hampshire at the moment. New Hampshire likes to judge a candidate by what he says to them, not by sound bites they hear on television that were selected by television directors and producers, so is that childish or immature? Maybe not so much.

 Now on to Ron Paul. As I said above I have no data to back this up, this is just a feeling I am getting, and here’s why. Ron Paul appears to be gaining a little momentum in New Hampshire and I’m not talking about in the television media, or in the Newspapers. He is largely being ignored by both, as someone polling as low as he would naturally be. But an interesting dynamics is starting to play out. As I drive across New Hampshire the presidential candidate’s lawn signs are starting to appear, and guess whose I see the most of? Ron Paul. There seems to be a quiet current of discontent flowing and Ron Paul seems to be swimming in it.

 I read the New Hampshire Union Leader every day, and for the last three weeks, maybe longer, more and more letters to the editor are being run in support of Ron Paul. Just Wednesday a letter to the editor ran in the paper reminding Democrats of the deadline to either switch parties or undeclare to become eligible to vote in the Republican primary. It was a call to anti-war Democrats that were fed up with Hillary’s war vote and refusal to apologize, and the war in general to vote in the Republican primary for Ron Paul. This leads me to another point I will make later. Thirdly, his last two events he held in New Hampshire have drawn very good crowds, at least as the lesser known candidates go. He seems to be drawing better than Huckabee, Hunter, Kucinich, and the other second tier candidates.

  I started questioning myself on this, asking myself if I was crazy. How could the state which overwhelmingly in last November’s election voted for liberal, hand-holding, we know what’s best for you, ban everything that’s bad for you, nanny state politicians all of a sudden vote for Ron Paul? Ron Paul, who is perceived as a strict constitutionalist, and in favor of individual rights and a decentralization of the federal government. This seems to be the kind of candidate New Hampshire would shy away from, at least judging from the last election. Then I started thinking about the dynamics of last November’s election. Disgruntled Republicans didn’t show up to vote, an overwhelming amount of Democrats did vote, and Independents broke for Democrats. Independents in New Hampshire equal 40% of the voters, the largest block of voters. Could it be that those disgruntled Republican voters are even more disgruntled now that they see how their short-sighted no-vote protest has hurt the state? Could it be that they are so aggravated at the way New Hampshire has become liberalized that they are now doing a 180 and looking at a candidate such as Ron Paul?

 More than likely the letters to the editor that keep appearing in the paper are just an extension of the seemingly well organized internet following that Ron Paul has gathered, and not necessarily New Hampshire voters actually changing their vote to Ron Paul.

 So, what does this mean in the long run? Probably not much. Winning New Hampshire doesn’t really mean a whole lot always. John McCain won here in 2000, and Pat Buchanan won here in 1996, so it doesn’t necessarily mean any thing if you win or lose here.

  I believe Fred Thompson’s numbers will probably rebound before the election once he gets his message out there, and especially if he starts returning to New Hampshire on a regular basis. Fred should be a strong contender here before all is said and done.

 As for Ron Paul, I will now make the point that I alluded to earlier. I am starting to believe that if Ron Paul does better than expected in New Hampshire and can carry some momentum into the next primary states he would consider a third party candidacy. If, as the writer to the editor asked, Democrats start voting for Ron Paul as a true anti war candidate this could really shake up the Democrat party as it would likely take more votes away from the Democrat candidate.

 Like I said earlier, I may be crazy. But I can dream, can’t I?

19 Comments leave one →
  1. October 13, 2007 4:01 pm

    Ron Paul has publicly stated at least twice on air yesterday that he will NOT pursue a third party run.

    Ron Paul has REAL support in NH, but the pollsters do NOT include him when they call.

    PJB won in ’96, not ’92 with 27% even though he was polling at 6%.

    So, don’t discount it. (PS — we’ve yet to PUT out all the signs from all the supporters!)


  2. October 13, 2007 4:11 pm

    You are right, Buchanan did win in ’96, my mistake. I have corrected that.
    I am not dicounting it, I really do feel as though something is going on here.


  3. October 13, 2007 6:51 pm

    You better believe something’s going on here. Soon you will even see us Ron Paul supporters take to the streets. (Or perhaps you’ve already seen us!)

    There is indeed a strong, well organized Internet following, but it’s important to note that the supporters are self-organized, rather than organized by the campaign. Those people you see waving signs and writing letters are real Ron Paul supporters and have taken time out of their day to express their support. No other candidate in either party has inspired this sort of enthusiasm.

    BTW, Fred canceled yet another appearance where he was supposed to appear with Manchester mayor Frank Guinta on Friday. Ron Paul said Friday he plans to spend a lot more time here this fall.


  4. L. Step permalink
    October 13, 2007 9:05 pm

    I’ve noticed among my acquaintances, here in Pennsylvania, the same phenomena — an undercurrent of distrust and boredom with the usual political snake oil from the usual politicians. The Democrats we voted for in the November are terrified of Bush and AIPAC. Our own local “anti-war” Congressman, John Sestek, upon gaining office immediately agreed with Bush and went on to vote for more war funding. Our new Democratic Senator, Casey, is already suggesting the need to have a war with Iran. Little wonder that Ron Paul is slowly gaining ground… I will will vote for him even if I have to send in a write-in vote, and my aquaintances are, if not all fully in agreement with me, not inclined to simply treat a vote for Paul as a “wasted vote”. The chain, “Bush, Clinton, Clinton, Bush, Bush” is becoming painful for them. For me, to vote for either that power-obsessed Hillary and that moral cretin she married, or for such as that “war on terror” obsessed Rudy G., would really be a “wasted vote’.


  5. October 14, 2007 2:30 am

    My girlfriend and I are praying to God that Ron Paul is elected, if you are reading this please join our prayer. This country needs a real citizen who understands the constitution to lead our nation as president.

    Thank you

    P.S. Don’t forget to vote!


  6. bruce permalink
    October 14, 2007 2:57 am

    I think people who like Paul should also take a good look at Kucinich and possibly Gravel too. Kucinich, although he’s endlessly discounted by everyone across the spectrum, is probably the most sane guy running, and has many of the qualities that people like in Paul, without the more extreme ideas of ending all government…Take Paul but throw in some good health care…

    I’d really like to see the two camps get together, with Nader as a close advisor, and run a solid 3rd party candidacy…

    Paul/Kucinich (or vice versa!) in 2008

    peace 🙂


  7. plasticonobrisco permalink
    October 14, 2007 7:06 am

    When Ron Paul was elected to offfice, he swore to uphold the Constitution. He’s a man of his word, and is keeping his promise.
    The Federal Reserve is killing our dollar, the war is killing our soldiers, police-state methods are killing our civil liberties, and the income tax and an unmanageable failed foreign policy are killing our economy.
    Support Ron Paul and his anti-war, anti-interventionism approach – in which free-trade takes the place of manipulative violence and endless war. Ron Paul 2008


  8. John Howard permalink
    October 14, 2007 7:15 am

    The post above suggests that Paul wants to “end all government”. That is clearly a lie. The poster then goes on to wish for socialized medicine so he doesn’t have to be responsible for himself. Then he wishes for a mixture of liberty and socialism which is what he already has. With voters like this, what chance is there for liberty, property, and peace?


  9. October 14, 2007 11:43 am

    Dream on. Ron Paul is the candidate of the fringe. He will not be among the top five candidates.

    Thank God!


  10. October 14, 2007 3:24 pm

    You guys in NH are extremely lucky to have many candidates visit you for face-to-face townhall meetings. The majority of Americans never meet candidates, thus only relying on media clips to evaluate who to vote for in primaries and general elections. Having said that, it is good to hear that voters listen intently to what second-tier candidates have to say as much as top-tier candidates. Do the majority of people in NH have Internet access? Do you think that has played a role in Ron Paul’s growing popularity in NH?


  11. October 14, 2007 8:42 pm

    As far as I know most people do have internet access. I’m not sure Paul’s popu;arity is growing, it’s just a feeling I get, but his popularity is spreading across the internet, that’s where his base seems to be. We will see if this translates into votes.

    Bobwaters, I agree with you, Paul is definately the candidate of the fringe. I am really hoping he will run as a third party candidate and take votes away from the Democrat candidate.


  12. hotoffthepress permalink
    October 15, 2007 10:01 am

    Bob McCarty Writes has learned that officials with the Republican Party have issued an Amber Alert for Fred Thompson. A GOP spokesperson made the announcement and confirmed an Associated Press report that the former U.S. senator from Tennessee was missing from the campaign trail and had canceled at least one scheduled event in New Hampshire over the weekend. Anyone who sees the former Law and Order actor is asked to contact the Republican Party Headquarters in Washington, D.C., toll-free at the number below: 1-888-FIND-FRED (888-346-3733)


  13. PAFreedom permalink
    October 15, 2007 7:32 pm

    Dr. Ron Paul’s message of freedom and true governmental accountability resonates with America.

    The more people hear, the more they like. After all, everyone benefits.

    He will not run as a third party candidate, however, if he did; he would attract people of both major parties (like Ross Perot)


  14. Parke permalink
    October 19, 2007 1:02 am

    Ron Paul may be ‘fringe’ to some, but being born in NH I was taught to live free or die. Wouldnt it be nice to know that even though you didnt agree with everything he says at least he is honest and answers your questions?


  15. Conrad permalink
    October 22, 2007 9:34 pm

    I grew up in New Hampshire, and remember meeting a number of candidates face-to-face and asking them questions. Traditionally, New Hampshire has a very independent streak, an attitude of self-responsibility which I think will make New Hampshire votes naturally gravitate towards Ron Paul.

    I think the analysis above is right on; New Hampshire is swinging towards Democrats because Republicans have abandoned the principles of individual responsibility, freedom, and small government.

    I for one wouldn’t mind seeing Ron Paul run as an independent / 3rd Party if he doesn’t get the Republican nomination. This country needs some kind of force to realign the parties and give them some genuine distinctions; the current conservative vs. liberal arguments are labels only – both parties want huge government, less privacy, an overseas empire, and to tell people what to believe and how to behave, with only minor differences in the details.


  16. October 22, 2007 9:58 pm

    Conrad, New Hampshire has lost that Independent streak in my mind because of all the transplants here. That is why I find the Ron Paul fascinations kind of remarkable. Maybe the Republicans who foolishly stayed away from the polls in the last election realized who stupid they were and are now ready to vote for smaller government. I hope so.


  17. john permalink
    October 25, 2007 7:33 pm

    Bob Waters said:
    “Dream on. Ron Paul is the candidate of the fringe. He will not be among the top five candidates.

    Thank God!”

    just saw a poll today and you were right, he was not among the top 5 candidates—– Hes among the top 4 candidates @ 7.4% and ahead of the savior of the Republican Party “Walking Dead” Fred Thompson



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