It doesn't matter what you think the new Public Policy Polling result says. It doesn't matter how many gleeful Democrats are writing up news stories claiming it's true. It's not.
He wins people who don't vote, but the Iowa caucuses only admit Republicans.
Every time, and I mean every time, I bring up the fact that the Iowa Caucuses are closed, the reply is that "You can register up to the day of the caucuses to participate." That's true. But if Paul is not able to motivate his supporters to register, and if his people aren't actually committed to caucus for Paul, then his support is soft, and isn't going to show up.
Look at the PPP poll. The partisan breakdown is huge. Among Republicans, it's Newt Gingrich 25, Ron Paul 17. Among Independents it's Ron Paul 35, and Newt Gingrich in fourth at 12. Similar story among Democrats: Ron Paul 28, Newt Gingrich in third at 18.
Paul does worse among TEA partiers than he does among Republicans. Gingrich 24, Paul in third at 16.
Consider further the PPP breakdown by 2008 caucus vote. Gingrich wins Mike Huckabee caucusers with 26, with Paul in third at 16. Mitt Romney wins Romney caucusers at 44, with Gingrich at 23. Gingrich wins Thompson, McCain, and Giuliani caucusers as well. Ron Paul wins Ron Paul caucusers at 81%.
The 2008 caucuses saw record turnout both for Republicans and Democrats. Somehow Ron Paul needs that turnout to get even bigger, if he wants people who are independents now to show up and caucus for him. That's not likely.
InsiderAdvantage, the pollster that warned of Karen Handel knocking off John Oxendine in GA and of Nikki Haley taking over in SC, tells much the same story. Paul wins Independents 28-25 over Gingrich. Gingrich wins Republicans at 29, with Rick Perry squeaking into second at 14, then Ron Paul and Mitt Romney at 13.
Fun side note: InsiderAdvantage suggests some sort of Operation Chaos-style attempt going on in Iowa, as Michele Bachmann leads among Democrats.
But these numbers are not as great for Ron Paul as some would have us believe. Ron Paul is only winning among Paul caucusers in the state, and he came in fifth place in 2008 at 10%, well behind Mike Huckabee's 34%. The only way Paul wins is to register new Republicans by the truckload and then drive them to the caucuses. As the polls show, so far that's not happening. His supporters are still independents, not Republicans, and thus don't matter in the final tally.