Kevin Kervick, Manchester Independent Examiner
You may not read about it in the manistream press or see it on television but Ron Paul is surging in South Carolina.
According to the statistical average at the New York Times poll crunching blog 538, compiled by analyst Nate Silver, Congressman Paul is running third in South Carolina. Of all the candidates, Congressman Paul has the greatest forward momentum. Paul is rallying in all of the South Carolina polls released after the New Hampshire Primary, in which Paul finished a strong second place. In one poll, from the American Research Group, Congressman Paul has gained eleven points since their last poll was taken on January 5th. In the PPP poll, Paul gained six points and former Senator Santorum dropped five points in one week. In the Rasmussen poll, Congressman Paul is up five points and Santorum is down eight points since last week.
Another factor that is contributing to the optimism of Ron Paul's supporters is his surprising over-performance relative to the polls taken right before the New Hampshire Primary. Congressman Paul had an average poll rating of 17.5 percent in New Hampshire on the morning of the Primary. He finished with almost 23 percent of the vote, a five percentage point discrepancy. Each of the other candidates finished close to his final polling average in New Hampshire. This suggests that some pollsters may be under-polling demographic groups that are coming out strong for Congressman Paul.
The weekend talk shows are focusing on the conflict between Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich, and Senator Santorum's endorsement from a group of Evangelical Christian leaders. As usual, mainstream writers and political commentators are ignoring a big story - Ron Paul is running a terrific campaign and is seeing his support grow significantly in South Carolina.