(Photo: REUTERS/Brian Snyder)
Despite portrayals of Ron Paul as “Crazy Old Uncle Ron” and “old and feeble,” a new Gallup poll suggests that the Texas Congressman connects best with voters who could very well be his grandchildren.
In a recent Gallup poll, the self-proclaimed libertarian does better among voters aged 18-34 than he does with the older generations. In fact, 20 percent of Republican primary voters in this age group support Paul. He came in second behind Mitt Romney who garnered 26 percent of the votes in this age category.
As the age group gets older, Paul’s support drops off. Just eight percent of primary voters aged 35 to 54 support him and four percent of those aged 55 and older do.
The ages of Paul’s supporters almost directly contradicts the conventional knowledge that younger people are more prone to support bigger government and welfare and the older generation is more apt to take on conservative viewpoints such as limited government. After all, most young people tend to be more liberal in their voting patterns.
“It’s a conundrum,” Frank Newport, editor-in-chief of Gallup polling, said, according to The Daily Caller.
“We know that in general American[s] 18-29 (across all party lines) are less negative towards big government and government power than those who are older. Yet Republican[s] 18-29 and 18-34 are disproportionately Paul supporters,” he said. “We don’t have data on the views of government of just Republican[s] 18-29 (sample size limitations), and it is possible that they may diverge in their views of big government from non-Republican young voters.”
Paul recognizes where his support is coming from. The oldest candidate in the race nabbed the endorsement of The Daily Iowan, the University of Iowa student newspaper, earlier this month.
The paper’s editorial regarding Paul may give some insight into what about Paul appeals to the youth:
"Paul is a candidate who appeals to voters across the political spectrum. He has also been exceptionally consistent in his time in Congress. He doesn't play political games – even with his opponents – and remains truthful to his word. This alone is a redeeming quality in a candidate in today's political sphere.”
Despite the mainstream media writing him off as being unable to win Iowa, he is now polling in second place and may even be the most popular candidate in Iowa, given the margin of error."
Paul’s stances on limited government as well as his anti-war and anti-drug war positions seem to resonate well with the youth.
The paper goes on to explain why they did not support the other candidates. Most notable was there disdain for the Tea Party favorites, Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum. The paper wrote that it could not support Bachmann and Perry over their “unacceptable” positions on gay rights. The most brutal review was left for Santorum whom the paper describes as a “staunch religious conservative who would impose a quasi-theocracy on the entire country."
Josh Riddle, co-founder of The Young Cons and senior at Dartmouth College, told The Christian Post that while he personally does not support Paul he can understand why his peers do.
“There’s a general unhappiness that most people are seeing in the primaries. Right now there doesn't seem to be any candidate who the voters can really get excited about and get behind 100 percent; they all seem to carry so much baggage,” he said. “I imagine Ron Paul is viewed as so radically different from all other candidates that supporting him is the best way to stick it to establishment Republicanism and big government spending. “
Political consultant Dan Hazelwood echoes Riddle’s thoughts on the youth wanting to “stick it to” the establishment.
“No caveats, no nuances, no ‘it depends’ – purity of beliefs is always a hit among young people,” he told The Dailey Caller.
“They want to be in the vanguard of the revolution. It’s why students on the left rallied to candidate Obama in ’08, and on the right they rally to Ron Paul. Also, in Ron Paul’s case, it’s hip to be for the square, grumpy old dude because he is an anti-establishment conservative.”
Many young Paul supporters mirror the energetic and purpose-filled youth that backed Obama in ’08.
Jeramie Anderson, 20, a University of North Iowa junior, told the Wes Des Moines Patch early in December at a Paul rally that what drew him to the campaign was not necessarily Paul's policies but rather “a feeling of sincerity from the presidential hopeful.”
"It's kind of a magical thing. I just want to witness it in person," he said. "It's not a common thing for me to trust a politician. His message holds more truth and is more solid than any politician I've ever witnessed in history."
Paul seemed to confirm Anderson’s thinking at the UNI that same night, according to the Patch, proclaiming:
"It looks to me like the revolution has arrived.”