By Jesse Walker
Some surprise results from pollster Scott Rasmussen:
Pit maverick Republican Congressman Ron Paul against President Obama in a hypothetical 2012 election match-up, and the race is -- virtually dead even.
A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey of likely voters finds Obama with 42% support and Paul with 41% of the vote. Eleven percent (11%) prefer some other candidate, and six percent (6%) are undecided....
But Republican voters also have decidedly mixed feelings about Paul, who has been an outspoken critic of the party establishment.
Obama earns 79% support from Democrats, but Paul gets just 66% of GOP votes. Voters not affiliated with either major party give Paul a 47% to 28% edge over the president.
The news comes via the right-wing political maven Michael Barone, who is amazed at "the specter of the incumbent president leading a fringe figure [like] Ron Paul by a statistically insignificant 1%." Note to Barone: Fringe is a relative term. If this many voters are willing to support a presidential candidate, you might want to find a different word to describe him.