Texas Republican Rep. Ron Paul has been climbing in Republican presidential primary polls in the crucial early states of Iowa and New Hampshire — a growth that campaign chairman Jesse Benton attributes to a relentless ground campaign.
“We are pairing Dr. Paul’s winning message of limited government, real spending and a balanced budget with a top notch campaign,” Benton told The Daily Caller. “Our mail, phone, TV and ground game are top notch and we will not let up.” (SEE ALSO: Paul’s 19 percent in Iowa may indicate a path to the nomination)
The results of two Bloomberg polls in those states showed Paul in second place — the same showing he made in an Iowa poll conducted by Iowa State University. Other polls, including a New Hampshire Journal poll released Friday, found Paul running in third place in New Hampshire.
Pollster John Zogby believes Paul’s strong performance in early primary states is another sign of “a Republican Party at war within.” Zogby told TheDC, “This is battle for the heart and soul soul of the party and it is a very high stakes game.”
“The conventional wisdom suggests that Romney wins,” added Zogby. “After all, the GOP has a history of giving the gold watch to whoever is around the longest — Nixon, Ford, Reagan, Bush, Dole, Bush again, then McCain. It is Mitt’s turn. Except, poll after poll suggests that the dogs just don’t like the dog food.”
The search to find a “real conservative” alternative to former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney has led Republican voters to consider, and temporarily boost poll numbers for, Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, businessman Herman Cain and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, he noted. (WATCH: CBS ignored Ron Paul at debate, now shoves competitor to get a shot)
“Now the GOP likely voters are looking for the pure conservative and that, for the moment is not Romney,” said Zogby. “And it honestly looks like if that sentiment holds — and it just might given Tea Party anger and a party realignment — it could be whoever leads at the moment. And that could be Paul.”
“Paul is ‘100 percent pure’ and totally consistent. There will be no sweetheart consulting contracts, no sexual harassment, no nothing” that could lead to a sudden exodus of support, Zogby noted. He added that Paul’s chance of winning the GOP nomination nonetheless remains “not likely.”