Can Ron Paul win the Republican nomination in 2012?
In the Republican race for 2012, Mitt Romney leads with 28%, Mike Huckabee is at 24%, and Sarah Palin is at 23%. Ron Paul polls at 11%.
Obviously, all 3 candidates ahead of Ron Paul have serious problems. Romney will have a hard time convincing voters that implementing ObamaCare at the state level (as he did while he was governor) is any better than doing so at the federal level. Huckabee is plagued by scandals involving his misuse of parole while governor. The fact that Palin, despite her exposure, personal popularity, and presumed status as the frontrunner for the nomination, is unable to break away from the pack is a worrying sign for her, although I still think she is a stronger candidate than Huckabee and Romney.
Ron Paul's biggest problem is the common belief that he somehow "can't win," so it is pointless to vote for him. For every person who supports him, there are probably 2 or 3 who like him, but don't think he can win. If Ron Paul continues to win the major straw polls (he has consistently won minor straw polls for years, but won his first major straw poll at CPAC this year) and runs away with the fundraising race, he might be able to shake that perception. If Ron Paul learns from the Goldwater, Reagan '76, and Obama campaigns and focuses on winning the caucus states, would he be able to pull off an upset as 2 out of 3 of these did (Reagan came within a handful of delegates of defeating President Ford)? I think he can win, but I think Palin will be his strongest competition and it will be close.