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Ron Paul has a 7.5 percent likelihood of winning the Republican nomination, based on data from prediction markets. That puts him in 3rd place, behind Mitt Romney at 47.7 percent and Newt Gingrich at 33.7 percent, but ahead of Jon Huntsman at 5.4 percent. Real Clear Politics has Paul at 9.3 percentage points in its latest aggregated poll trend for the Republican primary.
Among active candidates, that puts him 3rd behind Gingrich at 33.3 percentage points and Romney at 22.0 percentage points. The prediction markets and polls paint a picture of the race for the Republican nomination that contrasts with many indicators talked about on the internet.
Ron Paul is by far the most popular candidate in The Signal's comment section. In every article we post there are streams of comments on Ron Paul. First, thank you for commenting! We appreciate that you are reading the articles and taking the time to comment on them. Yet, the readership of The Signal is not a representative sample of the relevant electorate and the subset of The Signal's readers that choose to post comments are an even less representative subset of the relevant electorate. Thus, being the most popular among those people who comment on this website is not a powerful indicator of the election outcome.
What matters is the popularity among those people that will participate in the Republican primary contests. Ron Paul is leading or in second place in many straw polls, but again, these are not representative samples of the relevant electorate. Straw polls are conducted among a self-selected group of highly motivated members of the electorate. They indicate strong and dedicated support, an important attribute in elections. But, elections are decided across a much larger electorate that does not resemble this smaller subgroup.
Even if Ron Paul wins Iowa, where he is currently trailing only Gingrich, he faces a very difficult struggle to win the Republican nomination. A loss to Paul would greatly diminish Gingrich's position as the anyone-but-Romney candidate. There is a high likelihood that Paul would become the anyone-but-Romney candidate, but that is not guaranteed. So, if Paul is 28.8 percent likely to win Iowa, that mean he has at most a 28.8 percent likelihood of becoming the anyone-but-Romney candidate as a result of the Iowa Caucus.