A poll released Tuesday found that in head-to-head election match-ups between President Barack Obama and various Republican presidential candidates, Texas Rep. Ron Paul fared best among non-white voters.
In a hypothetical contest against the president, the CNN/Opinion Research poll found Paul with 25 percent of the non-white vote.
Romney received 20 percent of that demographic against Obama, Texas Gov. Rick Perry 17 percent, Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann 18 percent, and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich 15 percent.
Paul campaign press secretary Gary Howard, who is himself an African American, told The Daily Caller that his candidate’s opposition to the War on Drugs has helped him win support from minorities.
“The figures in this poll show that voters are looking at Congressman Paul’s decades-long history of fighting for the individual liberties of all Americans,” said Howard.
“He has the strongest record of any candidate in this presidential race of standing up for civil liberties, and is also a staunch advocate of ending the drug war and fixing our biased court system which unfairly punishes minorities,” he said.
Paul has made direct appeals to non-white voters, saying that he believes the criminal justice system and the War on Drugs have disproportionately affected African-Americans, as have foreign military campaigns.
In a CNN interview during the 2008 election season, Paul declared that he would, as president, “pardon all blacks, all whites, everybody who has been convicted of non-violent drug crimes.”
He also opposes the federal government’s use of the death penalty because, he says, it has been “unjustly” applied to the poor and minorities.
Paul’s strong showing among minority voters is bound to be fodder for his supporters, as his rising poll numbers in Iowa and New Hampshire attract attacks from rivals.
One of the most notable criticisms of Paul has been that racially insensitive commentary found its way into a newsletter he circulated. Paul has confessed that he didn’t pay close enough attention to the newsletter’s content.
Despite the CNN/Opinion Research poll, a recent Public Policy Polling survey found that among African-Americans, Paul would be supported by just 10 percent of voters when matched against Obama, whereas Romney would be supported by 12 percent and Gingrich by 13 percent.
The PPP survey, however, had a smaller sample size, at 700, than the CNN/Opinion Research poll, which had 1,015 respondents.