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JUST GETTING STARTED: Paul in Top 5 of New CNN Poll

Rumors of Paul Campaign’s Demise Greatly Exaggerated

by Josh Guckert

A CNN/ORC poll released Tuesday morning shows Rand Paul firmly in the hunt for the Republican nomination, as he is tied with 2008 runner-up Mike Huckabee and within the margin of error of overtaking both Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio, who are tied for third place behind Donald Trump and Ben Carson. Paul does exceptionally well among Independent voters, as he is tied for third with Rubio among that demographic. In addition, while statistics are unavailable for all age groups, Paul looks to have done particularly well with younger voters (age 18-49), and could see even more room for improvement in overall numbers, as he is the fourth most popular second choice among voters age 50-64.

The new CNN poll likely solidifies the prime-time lineup for the upcoming CNBC debate on October 28, with the aforementioned five joining seventh place finishers Chris ChristieTed Cruz, and Carly Fiorina along with tenth place finisher, John Kasich. Another poll number of note is that of Lindsey Graham, whose 1% qualifies him to participate in the secondary debate with Rick Santorum, Bobby Jindal, and George Pataki.

Many media outlets have spent the last few months speaking ill of Rand Paul’s Presidential chances, making statements that the “libertarian moment” had passed, that his campaign was poorly organized, and that he had best focus on getting re-elected to the Senate. However, Paul’s excellent showing in this crucial poll seems to be enough to give naysayers pause.

Dozens of campaigns in past cycles have experienced immediate rises to the top of the polls before just as quickly falling back to the bottom of field. In a group of fifteen (originally seventeen), numbers can be more volatile than ever.

Meanwhile, the most successful candidates have been those who have slowly built bases of support and done hard work in early states as others have come and gone. While many pundits may wish to write off Senator Paul’s campaign, he has among the best ground games of any of the campaigns, particularly in Iowa and New Hampshire. Additionally, his Students for Rand operation mobilizes young voters in a way which has never been seen in Presidential politics, let alone in a Republican primary.

Senator Paul’s campaign is based upon big ideas and revolutionary principles. Even while a large percentage of voters have yet to pay close attention to the race, new concepts will quickly catch the eyes of voters. With as divided of a populace as there is, Americans are prepared for a change of pace. Senator Paul is able to carry the torch for a large swath of individuals, all of whom would perhaps be political adversaries in other arenas, but are able to concur on certain issues.

Related: Rand Calls Out Bernake, Wants Debate

Senator Paul has a unique opportunity in next Wednesday’s debate, as it will be centered on economics. Due to this subject area, Paul will be able to appeal to more “traditional” Republican voters by discussing his 14.5% flat tax proposal and his plans to make significant cuts to the federal budget. Once the GOP populace is able to identify Paul as the most fiscally conservative of the field, they will join alongside the liberals and moderates who find his stances on foreign affairs and civil liberties to be so interesting.

Rand Paul is undoubtedly a unique candidate in this already unorthodox 2016 Presidential race. The Iowa Caucuses are still a little over 100 days away, but it would seem that as more Americans learn about Senator Paul, his poll numbers and base of support will continue to grow. Meanwhile, those who are enjoying early successes may realize that style can only take a candidate so far; substance is what decides elections.

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