Having already won the prestigious CPAC straw poll, and virtually tying for first place with Mitt Romney in the more recent SRLC straw poll, GOP renegade Ron Paul has shocked political gurus with a stunning performance in a Rasmussen poll.
According to the poll, the anti-war, fiscally conservative, & strict constitutionalist GOP congressman from Texas trailed President Barack Obama by a mere 1% in a hypothetical 2012 matchup. Paul even dominated Obama in an increasingly important metric- the independent voter. Paul beat the current president by 47% to 28% in this crucial category of the electorate.
It is becoming clear that Congressman Paul's calls for less debt and balanced budgets, relentless objection to easy money at the Federal Reserve, unabashed support for civil liberties even during times of war, denouncement of costly, open-ended wars abroad, and vision for less federal intrusion into the states are beginning to resonate with a significant number of Americans.
In CNN polls, though, Congressman Paul was ranked 5th by Republican voters when asked who'd they prefer to serve as the party's presidential nominee in 2012. However, none of these potential nominees, including Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee, Sarah Palin, and Newt Gingrich, came within 8% of Barack Obama in hypothetical matchups.
Clearly, Ron Paul's more non-intervenionist foreign policy continues to unnerve GOP voters, but based on the latest Rasmussen Poll, it appears as if he may be the only Republican candidate who could take on Obama.
If Congressman Paul's popularity steadily grows within the Republican Party, he may be a force to be reckoned come 2012 (if he decides to run) as some of his fiscal and foreign policies resonate with a significant number of Independents, and likely a fair number of anti-war Democrats.