Ron Paul: The Face of Tomorrow’s Republican Party?
A new Gallup Poll released on August 24 in which Republican and Republican-leaning Independents nationwide were asked to choose which candidate they supported for the 2012 GOP Presidential nomination showed Rick Perry in the lead with 29% of the votes, followed by Mitt Romney with 17%, Ron Paul with 13%, and Michele Bachmann with 10%. No other candidate managed to poll more than 4%.
This is obviously great news for Rick Perry, who has gone from a 5% decifit to Mitt Romney in July to a 12% lead in August. Ron Paul, who has been hovering around 9% in national polls for much of the summer, continues to tick upward since his surprise second place finish in the Ames Straw Poll. Michele Bachmann, meanwhile, continues to slide in recent polls, a trend which began immediately after Perry’s entrance into the race.
What is interesting, however, is the crosstabs data, which shows how each candidate fared among various demographics (sex, age, geographic region, political ideology, and church attendance). Ron Paul bests all other candidates (by a fairly healthy margin) among voters aged 18 to 29 years with 29% of the votes, comes in tied in second among voters aged 30 to 49 years with 15% of the vote, but only receives 7% and 4% among voters aged 50 to 64 years and >65 years, respectively.
This poll, I believe, demonstrates a huge generational gap in terms of today’s Republican and Republican-leaning voters, with younger voters being much more open to the ideas of Ron Paul and libertarianism and older voters being much more hostile. Perhaps this suggests that there is hope for libertarianism in the GOP in the near future.
UPDATE: Jonathan Chait wrote an article yesterday at The New Republic that essentially covers the same points that I’ve made here.