Why Ron Paul did well among social conservatives at the Values Voter Summit
Ron Paul won the Values Voter Summit presidential straw poll of Republican hopefuls by a relative whopping 37 percent of the vote. His combination of organized supporters and a strong biblical theme worked well.
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Surprisingly, given his enthusiastic fan base, Paul scores pretty low on Gallup’s “positive intensity score” as well. (That’s the percentage of strongly favorable opinions minus the percentage of strongly unfavorable opinions.) While he once scored a high of 16, he’s now down to a low of 3 compared with 13 for Romney and 30 for Cain.Skip to next paragraph
In Pictures Ron Paul: populist for president
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“His message is still not resonating with voters,” blogs Jason Volack, who covers Paul for ABC News. “In the latest ABC News poll, only 8 percent of likely Republican voters mentioned Paul’s name as the one best to handle the economy. Rick Perry and Mitt Romney each topped the poll with 22 percent. In fact, in all of ABC News’ polls, there are no issues that Paul can claim as his own.”
So how to explain Paul’s good showing at the Values Voter Summit this weekend?
Well, there were those young Paul supporters who showed up by the busload to vote for him and cheer his speech.
But that speech no doubt resonated with many social conservatives there as well, especially those lukewarm about Romney and Perry but not necessarily dazzled by Cain.
Paul sounded a biblical theme throughout – from Samuel and Isaiah in the Old Testament to Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, from his pro-life stance on abortion as an obstetrician who’s delivered 4,000 babies to how “in the early church, they talk about being very careful about going into war.”
“We are taught in the New Testament about caring for the poor and caring for our families and our neighbors and friends. But never did Christ say, you know, let’s go and lobby Rome to make sure we’re taken care of. It was a personal responsibility for us,” he said. “Christ was confronted at one time by a prostitute, but he didn’t call for the centurions. He didn’t call for more laws. But he was very direct and thought that stoning was not the solution to the problem of prostitution.”
It was a smoothly-constructed combination of Christianity and libertarianism (an interesting contrast to the social gospel and liberation theology), and for many in this audience it worked.
In last year’s Values Voter Summit straw poll, Ron Paul came in next to last. This year, it seems, his combination of organized supporters and a strong biblical theme worked well.