Forecasting Ron Paul’s Remaining Primary Performances

Last night, Ron Paul increased his percentage of the Iowa caucus vote from 10.0% in 2008 to 21.4%. If we can expect this same kind of increase from Paul in the remaining states, what would we expect his performance to be? I have found that Ron Paul’s primary vote shares are best modeled logarithmically, due to overdispersion in the data. Put another way, Paul increased his vote share from 2.3 log points to 3.1 log points last night, an increase of 0.765 log points. What if Paul experienced that same gain in the remaining states in the primary calendar?

I’m going to do something pretty simple here. I’m going to add that figure to Paul’s 2008 performances for each state and then convert back into percentages. However, Montana has switched from a caucus to a primary, which should hurt Paul, so for Montana I’ve subtracted from Paul’s score the estimated benefit he received from caucus states in 2008. I’ve arranged the list according to each state’s place in this year’s calendar.

State Date Forecast
New Hampshire 10-Jan 16.4%
South Carolina 21-Jan 7.8%
Florida 31-Jan 6.9%
Nevada 4-Feb 29.5%
Colorado 7-Feb 17.8%
Minnesota 7-Feb 33.7%
Missouri 7-Feb 9.6%
Maine 11-Feb 39.2%
Arizona 28-Feb 9.3%
Michigan 28-Feb 13.5%
Washington 3-Mar 46.4%
Alaska 6-Mar 37.3%
Georgia 6-Mar 6.3%
Idaho 6-Mar 51.0%
Massachusetts 6-Mar 5.7%
North Dakota 6-Mar 45.7%
Ohio 6-Mar 10.4%
Oklahoma 6-Mar 7.2%
Tennessee 6-Mar 12.0%
Vermont 6-Mar 15.4%
Virginia 6-Mar 9.6%
Kansas 10-Mar 24.0%
Alabama 13-Mar 5.9%
Mississippi 13-Mar 8.7%
Illinois 20-Mar 10.8%
Louisiana 24-Mar 11.8%
District of Columbia 3-Apr 17.5%
Maryland 3-Apr 12.8%
Wisconsin 3-Apr 10.3%
Texas 3-Apr 10.9%
Connecticut 24-Apr 8.7%
Delaware 24-Apr 9.1%
New York 24-Apr 13.8%
Pennsylvania 24-Apr 34.2%
Rhode Island 24-Apr 14.9%
Indiana 8-May 16.5%
North Carolina 8-May 15.5%
West Virginia 8-May 10.8%
Nebraska 15-May 27.9%
Oregon 15-May 31.4%
Arkansas 22-May 10.3%
Kentucky 22-May 14.6%
California 5-Jun 11.5%
Montana 5-Jun 18.3%
New Jersey 5-Jun 10.4%
New Mexico 5-Jun 30.2%
South Dakota 5-Jun 35.5%
Utah 26-Jun 6.3%

I think that this forecast underestimates Paul’s support in next week’s New Hampshire primary, because it does not take into account the increase in Free State Project activists in that state. Nevertheless, it should be clear what a daunting task Paul faces. Even if he hits 20-22% in New Hampshire, he is not likely to be competitive in South Carolina and Florida, both of which are dominated by socially conservative defense hawks in the former case and older voters in the latter, and both of which are primaries, where Paul has usually done far less well.

However, if Paul can manage to beat expectations there, he stands a decent chance of winning the Nevada, Minnesota, and Maine caucuses and placing second in Colorado. A string of strong performances just might set him up to beat these forecasts in the next few states, especially if he becomes the anti-Romney anti-Santorum by default. After Super Tuesday, Paul faces a potential long dry spell of primary states in which he does not do particularly well. It’s hard to see how he does not get eliminated from contention for the nomination during this period, unless he really manages to build momentum out of New Hampshire and the early February contests.

7 thoughts on “Forecasting Ron Paul’s Remaining Primary Performances

  1. Keep in mind that only Romney and Paul qualified for the ballot for the Rep. primary in Virginia on March 6. Paul will be the one and only anti-Romney candidate, should Romney not have the nomination sewed up by then.

  2. Virginia is also an open primary state, requiring only a superficial “oath of support” in order to vote in the republican primary. I believe Paul may pick up many crossover dems and many big government republicans may stay home.

  3. I predict that Virginia’s will change the Republican primary ballot rules so there are more non-Romney candidates on the ballot.

    1. A tea party-related lawsuit has been filed, but the the Atty Gen wisely backed off his initial comments and said he won’t support changing the rules in the middle of the game. So, without Cuccinelli’s support, nor the support of the Romney team in Virginia, the chances of a change at this point are slim. The rules for ballot access in Virginia have been in place since 2000. Even Alan Keyes got on the ballot in 2000, so they aren’t that onerous for candiates with any type of organization in place and willing learn the rules and gather signatures.

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