jueves, 2 de febrero de 2012

Nevada pone a prueba a Ron Paul

The New York Times:
The Nevada caucuses now loom as a key test for Mr. Paul’s movement: After forgoing an expensive winner-take-all primary in Florida where they had no chance of success, his campaign is wagering all it has on Nevada and other coming votes in smaller-market caucus states like Colorado and Maine, part of a strategy to skim delegates in contests where they are awarded proportionally, based on the number of votes.

At stake for Mr. Paul in these caucuses and primaries is not the Republican nomination but whether his support structure will finally grow from what some establishment Republicans deem no more than a fringe effort driven by a handful of issues to a movement with the leverage to dictate policy and platform changes to the national Republican Party and its nominee.

(...) Yet to some extent how much real leverage he can attain with the national party remains an open question and depends on how he performs in a series of contests to come, starting with Nevada, where he won 14 percent of the vote four years ago.

Expectations are even higher this year, but Mr. Paul faces a major hurdle: Mitt Romney’s strong base of support and organization here. In 2008, Mr. Romney won 51 percent of the vote, the same as in his home state, Massachusetts. Surveys of voters at the time showed that 9 out of 10 Mormons — about a quarter of Nevada caucusgoers — voted for Mr. Romney. While Mr. Romney seems to have had a ceiling of support in some other states, Republican officials here say the religious dynamic suggests he has a floor at about 25 percent.

Paul organizers hope to dent that through a heavy regimen of training for local organizers as well as relentless phone-banking. Some people who have indicated a preference for Mr. Paul say they have been called three times in recent days by campaign workers reminding them of the time and place of their local caucus.