You may have noticed on the last couple post-debate homepage polls we begin with “Putting aside Ron Paul . . . .” I’ve seen sundry complaints about this in e-mail, comments, and social media, so I figured it was worth explaining.
We’re not trying to silence Paul fans, or even dismiss his candidacy. Indeed, lots of us have said publicly and privately that we expect Dr. Paul to do well enough to be a force at the convention, if not the candidate that ends up on stage. The reason we decided to exclude Paul is quite simply that we don’t trust his numbers. And the reason we don’t trust his numbers is that just about every time he’s on a poll with other Republican hopefuls, he starts out at the back of the pack but then enjoys suspicious, and statistically highly unlikely, late afternoon/evening surges. ‘So what?’ you say. ‘Maybe Paul supporters like to sleep in.’ Yeah, sure, maybe. Or maybe they’re trolls.
We design the homepage polls not just to get the pulse of National Review Online readers, but to give NRO readers the pulse of each other. And if we suspect large numbers of non-readers are showing up to spam our polls in a way that gives a skewed picture of the NRO community’s views, we’re going to take actions to correct it.
Hope that explains things.