While overall voter turnout in the Republican primaries and caucuses thus far is 4% lower than in 2008, one candidate's base of support has more than doubled in these four years. A new analysis reveals that Ron Paul has improved on his 2008 performance, often dramatically, in every one of 19 states for which a direct comparison can be made between the two election seasons [1, 2]. In these states, Paul has received a total of 880,000 votes, an increase of 133% over the 377,000 votes he received in these states in 2008.
Even in large primary states such as Michigan, Ohio, and Florida - largely overlooked by the campaign due to the expense of competing in these media markets - the Texas congressman received 60,000 more votes in each state than he received in 2008. In smaller states like Vermont, the growth is even more striking, with Paul receiving 15,200 votes in 2012 compared to the 2,600 he received in 2008, a nearly five-fold increase.
Ron Paul's supporters often refer to the liberty movement as a long-term educational campaign aimed at promoting awareness of the importance of individual liberties to a prosperous society and energizing the American people to go about reclaiming their freedoms.
Stacked against the powerful establishment, special interests, and the corporate-dominated media, Paul's consistent message of constitutional fidelity and fiscal conservatism has faced many obstacles in the past, but it seems that the tide may be beginning to turn. Ron Paul is greeted by overflowing crowds across the country wherever he speaks. Meanwhile, he continues to entice hundreds of thousands of disaffected Americans to rejoin the political process, bringing in the youth and independent votes that Republicans will need if they hope to unseat President Obama in November.
Speaking in Fargo, North Dakota, on Super Tuesday, Mr. Paul resolutely declared, "No army can stop an idea whose time has come." Having doubled his base of support since 2008 and obtained the support of 500,000 new voters over the past three months, the time for Ron Paul's message of liberty might be near after all.
 We exclude three states where the primary process was significantly different in 2012 than it was in 2008. Idaho had a primary in 2008 and switched to a caucus for 2012. Washington had both a primary and a caucus in 2008 and had only a caucus in 2012. Wyoming employs a complex multi-tiered process that resists a simple interpretation.
 Raw data available at http://www.columbia.edu/~ha2317/gopprimary_20120308.txt.
Photo Credit: Jayel Aheram