Ron Paul gets boost from crossover voters in Vermont and Virginia

Republican presidential candidate Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, takes in the applause of the crowd as he address a crowd during the North Dakota caucus Tuesday, March 6, 2012, in Fargo, N.D.
AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast
AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast

Ron Paul's strength in both the Vermont and Virginia Republican primaries came largely from Independent voters and, to a lesser extent in Vermont, Democratic voters who chose to participate in their state's Republican primary. Although Mitt Romney won both states handily, Paul won a significant portion of the vote.

Vermont primary results
Vermont exit poll

Virginia primary results
Virginia exit poll

With no competitive Democratic primary this year, many of the voters in the open primaries in these states were Independents. Even some Democrats voted in these Republican primaries. In Vermont, 40 percent of the voters said that they think of themselves as independents; 10 percent said they were Democrats. In Virginia, independents made up a third of all voters and 5 percent said they were Democrats.

Almost a third of the independent voters in Virginia voted for Ron Paul. In contrast to this, over 70 percent of Republicans voted for Mitt Romney. Half of Paul's votes came from independents and another 7 percent came from Democrats.

In Vermont, 38 percent of independents voted for Paul as did 42 percent of Democrats. Almost 60 percent of Ron Paul's voters were independents and another 15 percent were Democrats. Only 13 percent of Republican voters in Vermont voted for Paul. Romney won half of the Republican voters in the Vermont primary.

Ron Paul tells supporters "we always win"

Complete Republican primary results
CBS News Estimated Delegate scorecard

Super Tuesday results by state: Alaska | Georgia | Idaho | Massachusetts | North Dakota | Ohio | Oklahoma | Tennessee | Vermont | Virginia

  • Stanley Feldman

    Stanley Feldman is a Professor of Political Science at Stony Brook University.