Taking On The Ron Paul Online Conglomerate

I stumbled on this post from the Blogrush widget on the right side of our site. It’s called “Ron Paul’s Campaign Being Squashed by Big Media?” from Hear ItFrom.Us.

After reading it, I felt the need to respond here with some analysis and commentary.

From the post:

I was reading this article on ABC.com about Ron Paul’s success in the post debate polls and was pretty disgusted by the article in general. Then there are the absolutely ridiculous statements like this:

Since online polls aren’t scientific — people choose to take them, and many people vote multiple times — doing well in them doesn’t necessarily mean a campaign is on the move.

This statement paint ABC into a corner. If this statement is correct, the multi-billion dollar conglomerate that is Disney (ABC’s parent company) is so technically inept that they can’t conduct an online poll without stopping people from voting several times. Even simple, freely available poll software can handle this. Surely, someone at ABC can handle this. If not, I’ll be forwarding my resume ASAP.

If I might offer my opinion on this matter. Here’s a crazy possibility, perhaps all the Ron Paul sites are driving his supporters to flood these polls as many times as possible in order to greatly inflate the results? I’m not saying for sure this is happening, but it’s happening.

More from the post:

But maybe that’s not what happened at all. Maybe only Ron Paul’s rabid supporters were the only ones who chose to participate. Does that mean that ABC.com is so insignificant and out of touch with the mainstream that only fringe crackpots like Paul supporters want to participate in their poll? I don’t thinks so.

Actually, that is exactly what it means. Have you ever seen dopey online polls from various news websites? They don’t usually have too many participants. Therefore, it’s very easy to flood the site with Ron Paul votes. Ron Paul’s rabid supporters are indeed the only ones who bother to organize and flood almost every online, cell phone, and other kind of non-scientific, meaningless poll.

More from the post:

The other possibility is that this statement is simply not true. But then, why would a big media company want to publish an untrue statement like this? I mean, it’s not like huge corporations have something to gain by making sure that one of the big government Republicrats gets elected, right?

Right.

It’s not the media holding Ron Paul back, get over it people. He’s a minor candidate with an oddly large online following.

There is no media conglomerate holding back his support in every single meaningful poll released! Where are his supporters in the scientific polls? They aren’t there because his support is actually quite infinitesimally small.

He isn’t the second coming, he’s just a lower tier candidate with the most web traffic. There’s no conspiracy, no organized attempt to quell him, just the simple fact that he’s not that popular with actual voters. I certainly haven’t shut him up, I’ve been overly generous uploading video of him and covering his campaign like the rest.

Furthermore, ABC probably deleted the comments because they consisted of “RON PAUL OWNZ 2008!”.

Regardless of how much you may love Ron Paul, you can’t force him down everyone’s throat by making him win every non-scientific, non-binding, meaningless poll.

Therefore, I am repudiating the notion that his campaign is being held back by anyone other than Ron Paul himself. He’s not popular with real voters, according to the polls, period.

Update

Whether it’s coming from the Ron Paul campaign or not, someone is criminally using spam to shill for him. Check out this Wired article.

  • Yes, that is right. Ron Paul’s message appeals to a very wide audience. Get over it. It is not Ron Paul’s fault that the hateful, war-mongering Neocon message is about as desirable as being served a big turd for breakfast.

  • I live in a town of 75,000. I thought I knew all the Ron Paul supporters here (maybe 15 total). Grocery shopping today, I saw 3 cars with Ron Paul bumper stickers, and 2 homes with signs out front. Not people I knew. He’s not minor, and I’m blown away by how many people I meet each day that I hand a Ron Paul business card to and they say “Hey, I heard of him, he sounds great” or something like that.

    It’s pretty easy to deal with naysayers (such as yourself). All I tell peole is “That guy wants to take money out of your paycheck so that his paycheck can get bigger.” It’s an easy sell for Ron Paul, and a really, really tough situation for those of you living on my dole.

  • One question, how do you explain this:

    RealClearPolitics Poll Average:

    Ron Paul is at 3.3% average nationwide, 3.5% in New Hampshire, not listed in any other primary state because his polls are so low.

    Perhaps in scientific polls the numbers don’t lie like unreliable non-scientific polls?

    I’m not distorting it, I’m just asking how you can explain to me that these polls don’t matter. Even with the margin of error, he’s still nothing in every poll. Except New Hampshire where he at least shows up in the numbers.

    If he has so much support as you both claim, then why don’t the polls reflect it any any level? I’ve seen numerous bumper stickers as well. My theory is that Ron Paul supporters are the type of people that like to publicize their support. If everyone had stickers on their car, most would say Hillary or Giuliani at this point.

  • Justin O.

    I don’t think online polls are necessarily meaningless; it’s just that they measure something different: intensity of support, rather than number of supporters. I’ve yet to see any evidence offered that Paul supporters are gaming the polls, or that the campaign is pushing people to vote in them.
    As for the ‘scientific’ off-line polls, it’s important to remember who they tend to reach. Most generally target “likely primary voters”. Since there is no real way to accurately gauge who is likely to vote in this primary other than by asking, they tend to rely on past primary voters as an indicator. In the 2004 primary election, only about 6-7% of Republicans bothered to vote in the primaries, mainly because Bush was running unopposed. So, they’re tending to poll people who were so supportive of Bush that they went out and voted in an essentially meaningless primary. And clearly, those are not the kinds of people who are likely to support someone like Ron Paul.
    Now, it’s possible that these poll numbers accurately reflect a lack of substantial support for Paul, but I think it’s also at least plausible that they underestimate his numbers. To what extent, if any, is I think impossible to know with any real certainty. (And, of course, there’s still time for things to change before the primaries anyway).

  • That’s the most reasoned and plausible explanation I’ve heard, thanks for the comments Justin.

    Intensity of support versus number of supporters, I think some people need to understand that concept a little more.

  • Since last NOVEMBER, if you add up the times the MAINSTREAM media said RON PAULS name it would total 4,087 times for a YEAR! DURING THE SAME STRETCH the MAINSTREAM MEDIA has mentioned DRIED UP OLD JOHN McCAIN 98,011 TIMES! DO YOU THINK THATS just COINCIDENCE!

    PEOPLE like you just dont get it, DURING THE POLLS, I VOTED, and guess what, JUST CUZ HANNITY was crying OUT LOUD on NATIONAL TV, bout RON PAUL SUPPORTERS voting more than once, I TRIED TO VOTE AGAIN, guess what it said: Thanks for casting your vote earlier, only ONE VOTE per phone line! DUH!

    RON PAUL has touched AMERICA’
    YOU HAVE NOT!

    BACK UP and THINK AGAIN!

  • Is there a need to speak in CAPS?

    Where’s you data coming from, and second, how many times has the mainstream media mentioned Duncan Hunter, Tom Tancredo, or Mike Gravel? You could use the exact same argument for them.

    The mainstream media doesn’t shape the polls, they just cater to their results. Second, McCain was and, for some reason, still remains a top tier candidate.

    I know you can’t vote more than once, I did that experiment myself as well. However, what you’re ignoring is that fact that not many people vote in those polls, and Ron Paul supporters organize and are ready to flood every poll like that. If every Giuliani or Thompson supporter flooded the poll in the same way, they would win well over Ron Paul.

    However, Paul as a huge online following which floods any poll that exists. All that means is Ron Paul supporters vote in online and cell phone polls, it doesn’t mean there’s a conspiracy to keep Paul out of the race or low in the polls.

    People like yourself are convinced the world is out to get Ron Paul, and that’s just not even remotely true.

  • Mike

    First off, if you don’t think mainstream media lies about the reasons their online polls always go to Ron Paul, watch this video:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eUxQadgSkoA

    I’d offer a rationale similar to Justin O’s to explain the discrepancy of online support versus national support. I think there’s a dichotomy insofar as how people choose their candidate: Issues voters versus Image voters.

    Your average issues voter is a news wonk, watches a lot of primary debates, reads political blogs, and bases their support on the congruence of the candidates platform with their own. I suspect most Ron Paul supporters fall into this category.

    However, I think a majority of Americans are image voters…e.g. the soccer mom who doesn’t really watch debates but might catch the daily news, and then bases their support on whether they think their candidate “Seems like a nice guy” or “Just looks presidential.” Remember, a large percentage of Bush’s support in 2000 was based on the fact that voters would rather have a beer with him. Large marketing companies are hired by each campaign to create and maintain exactly this kind of image.

    My point is that this can be explained a lot more easily than either side claiming conspiracy, be it either mobs of media execs denouncing Paul, or mobs of Paul supporters flooding polls. In terms of primary nomination, there’s a selection bias on the part of national polls towards under-support of Paul, since most image voters probably won’t vote in the primaries. The opposite side of the coin is that there’s just as strong a selection bias in post-debate polls of Paul over-support, since issue voters are the only ones watching.

  • Well Hannity was wrong, I’m guessing he was just clueless as to how the vote actually worked. Just taking two seconds to try it yourself and anyone can figure out that you could only vote once. He simply believed that Paul’s support wouldn’t be that high without voting twice. However, he’s ignoring the fact that Ron Paul supporters swarm to those kinds of polls and make it a point to win every non-scientific poll with their vigor in voting.

    You’re right about the image voters as well.

    However, clearly Ron Paul supporters are flooding the polls, or he wouldn’t win every single one overwhelmingly. For example, if Ron Paul has 30,000 die-hard online supporters. A new poll comes out, all 30,000 of them go vote in it. Someone like Giuliani has many times that number of actual supporters, but they aren’t confined to being college students or other demographics who are online all the time. Therefore, the Giuliani supporters aren’t all voting in every online poll. If they were, Ron Paul’s support would look minuscule and this point would be moot.

    It’s just a matter of proportions of supporters who participate in the online and cell phone polls, no conspiracy on either side, just an examination of the numbers.

    I just think it’s ridiculous for Ron Paul supporters to think that since he wins all these online polls, the media is somehow burying him purposely. Then they try and point to the online polls as proof that Ron Paul has the most support but the media is conspiring against him.

  • The state and local straw poll results speak much more loudly than online or telephony polls. According to the straw polls which are representative of early primary voters, Rudy Giuliani is a fringe, third-tier candidate.

  • Hal Meeks

    Anyone know how these “scientific” polls select the people they call? Anyone truly believe that a “representative” sampling of maybe 1,000 people nationwide accurately reflects the views of the population as a whole? Look at the varying results between national and individual state polls. I have voted in every presidential election since 1976 and I have yet to be called by any of the major polls. Unless EVERYONE is called and EVERYONE responds then I don’t believe any of them.
    Conversely I doubt the veracity of any online/after debate polls because those who can organize or those who actually witness the event will participate. The population as a whole again is not represented.
    I feel that a significant portion of Congressman Paul’s support are much younger (under 25 perhaps), participating in politics for the first time and have a cell phone as there primary phone. A lot of them may be college students living in dorms who probably will not be called in any nationwidfe poll. Therefore they will not ever be represented in the “scientific” polls but will most assuredly show up on the online/instant polls following debates. Of course this is just a theory…