So Mitt Romney has won a number of straw polls by packing them. Reporters get the joke and have stopped covering them, but the Romney campaign knows that it can put these victories on mail pieces and ads. Normally, the question is whether the damage that occurs over the bad press is worth the result. For example, I only saw bad press, not Romney’s actual victory at the Young Republican straw poll.
Now Ames presents a difference. It will be covered by the press. Simply put it matters. But there’s something else different about Ames. Normally, you rig a straw poll by packing it with known supporters. But Ames is big enough that you probably can’t ID enough supporters, so the Romney campaign has been reduced to sending out mailers offering a free ride and a free registration to Ames. There are several problems with this.
First, the mailer gets posted on the internet. In other words, you get caught.
Second, the Ron Paul supporters may sign up for a ride on the Romney bus. Other campaigns will almost certainly place plants on the bus just to see what happens. Here’s what one Ron Paul supporter says:
Some say that then, after carefully weighing their options…..they may decide to vote Ron Paul at the Ames Straw Poll!
If interested, you could call Mitt for the free package at 866.505.2008 (details on flier below).
Now, it is not honest. But it is politics, which is rarely honest, and it wouldn’t be surprising.
And if Paul supporters had a conversion on the road to Ames, can Romney, who had a conversion on the road to Des Moines, really object?
Such are the dangers of the internet. This could be an interesting test of Ron Paul’s online army.