December 9, 2011
By JOE HOLLEY, HOUSTON CHRONICLE
For native Iowan Jackie Fleming, 78, it has been a confounding political season. With about five weeks to go before the Iowa caucuses, the lifelong Republican has switched allegiances three times - from Rick Perry to Herman Cain to, for the moment, Newt Gingrich.
Still not absolutely sure, she attended last weekend's Thanksgiving Family Forum in Des Moines, hoping to get a better read on the six candidates participating.
Her friend sitting beside her at the forum had no doubts about his allegiance....
"The Iowa caucuses are all about identifying an intense group of supporters willing to go out on a cold January night, and Paul's people are usually willing to do that," said Cal Jillson, a political scientist at Southern Methodist University....
Jillson agreed. "Paul is no threat to win the Republican nomination," he said. "His intense 10 percent is both a bottom and a top on his potential. As the field thins after Iowa, 10 percent will look less and less consequential."