Texas Congressman Ron Paul is the only 2012 GOP presidential candidate who has not won a primary or caucus while he continues to win each and every online poll by huge margins.
People who design online polls have alleged that Paul's supporters spam the online polls and vote multiple times to ensure online victory for their candidate. I would say there was enough evidence of well-coordinated efforts by Ron Paul's supporters to vote in online polls, Matt Margolis, who ran the GOP straw polls during the 2008 presidential election, told IB Times.
I could monitor where hits were coming from. I could see that when a new poll was posted back during the 2008 campaign, it didn't take long for Ron Paul's online communities to take notice and instruct everyone to vote. This is by no means wrong, but, votes logged user IPs and other data, which allowed us to incorporate safeguards into the code of the poll to prevent individuals from repeatedly voting. The more safeguards in place, the less anomalous the results were, Margolis said, indicating Paul supporters' likelihood to spam polls when proper safeguards are not in place.
Internet is a strange place where anything is possible, while giving a novice the impression that it is regulated magically. Depending on how the polls are designed, one can vote multiple times even without being a computer expert. Cookies, which are placed in users' computers to prevent multiple votes, can be deleted after voting, which enables the same person to vote any number of times.
However, certain polls register the IP addresses to track votes, but this can be bypassed using proxy servers. The polls, which require users to login to vote, can be cracked by signing up with multiple accounts. Nevertheless it has been alleged that Paul's supporters usually spam polls by appealing on social networking sites to vote for Paul.
There is no questioning the fact that Paul has struck a chord with a segment of voters, who arguably have grown apathetic to mainstream politics and policymaking. However, since a democracy works in favor of the majority and Paul supporters presumably don't make a majority, he keeps losing in the elections, which is the only logical answer anyone can think of (unless one happens to suspect that the U.S. elections are rigged).
According to Margolis, Paul's 2008 campaign was particularly interested in deciphering Paul's Internet support. I was contacted by Jesse Benton, who was Ron Paul's communication director at the time. He seemed particularly interested in what safeguards (to prevent spamming) were in place. I refused his request. I found the whole situation rather unorthodox. It is not normal for someone in that position on a presidential campaign to contact a blogger directly about something so inconsequential, Margolis said.
The polls were not scientific. No other campaign contacted me with regards to the polls. Any time I have ever been contacted by a presidential campaign has been through someone in charge of blogger outreach, he said.
Margolis says that the coordinated efforts to vote in online polls is aimed at swaying later voters to consider one candidate over another, the same way states with early votes/caucuses can. Giving the appearance of larger support for Ron Paul is meant to make more mainstream voters consider voting for him.
During the 2008 presidential run, several Digg users signed a petition appealing to Paul to stop his supporters from spamming the social news site.
A small number of your (Paul's) supporters have taken it upon themselves to invade and infest the online social news site Digg.com with a constant bombardment of stories related to your candidacy, the petition read.
Despite recent scientific polls showing you (Paul) winning less than 1 percent of your party's vote for the nomination, 80 percent of all political stories being submitted to Digg are about you. Clearly, your 'democratic' support is contrived, the petition alleged.
It is noteworthy that the complaint received only 50 signatures. The petitioner's goal was to reach 100,000.