Romney-Paul caucus brouhaha continues

State Republicans and Ron Paul supporters seem to be getting more, not less, worked up about Saturday's "presidential preference" poll results, in which Mitt Romney was declared Maine's caucus winner by a small margin.

Following Saturday's announcement, the Paul campaign cried foul, claiming that support in Washington County - which had to postpone its caucus on the 11th due to weather - could have put Paul ahead of Romney.

Soon, other complaints of mixed up and unreported straw poll numbers emerged from around the state.  

The Washington County caucus was rescheduled for this coming Saturday. In a piece examining the possible outcomes and implications of the February 18th caucuses (a handful of towns had previously scheduled their meetings for after the February 11th deadline), New York Times pollster Nate Silver points out that turnout could potentially be "much higher in Washington County than in other parts of Maine — and it would be higher in part because the results from the rest of the state were already known and Mr. Paul had doubled-down in the county as a result." This is one of several messy scenarios that could come out of Saturday's political theater.

"Of course...the straw poll is less important to them than the delegate count," political science professor Josh Putnam, of Davidson College, says on his blog Frontloading HQ. "Whether Paul is/was able to cobble together enough votes in the remaining precinct caucuses to pull ahead of Romney is not as important -- to the Paul campaign -- as is gobbling up delegate slots to the district/state conventions from not only those straw poll-excluded areas but statewide."

And, as this Washington Post article points out, focusing on the delegate race (which is decided separately from the straw poll) has been Paul's strategy all along.

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