J.D. Tuccille makes an excellent point that “Unfortunately, visibility measures passion, but winning isn’t about passion”.
I’d also say that straw polls measure passion but often don’t translate into actual votes on election day. It takes passion for the 112 Ron Paul supporters in a town to show up at a straw poll. But then on election day, there are thousands of people voting who don’t care much and who probably can’t identify a policy difference between the candidates. Ron Paul often crushes the competition in straw polls. It hasn’t translated into victories in an actual primary yet.
The only signs and bumper stickers we see here in North Carolina are Ron Paul signs. They’re everywhere. Will it translate into votes?
I’m starting to think that the funding of the candidates also measures passion but doesn’t necessarily translate into votes. In the final quarter of 2007 over 200,000 people contributed to Ron Paul’s campaign. Those passionate people will vote. But their passionate votes won’t count for more than the lukewarm votes of millions.