There's a new Quinnipiac poll out this morning of Iowa caucus goers that offers a little further insight into Rand Paul's challenge on foreign policy. Paul has consistently resisted the idea of sending ground-troops into Iraq. I asked him a year ago about the rise of ISIS in Iraq and what could be done about it. He said it wasn't worth sending young kids to die for. "For a young Iowan ...we're asking these kids to sacrifice their life or parts of their body and I frankly think the Iraqis need to step up," he said. "It doesn't really excite me that someone from Iowa needs to go there and defend Mosul. They need to defend Mosul...putting our soldiers on the ground is a mistake."
Recently, he backed a bill that would keep them from the fight against ISIS. But in the poll, 72 percent of the Republican Iowa caucus goers support sending U.S. ground troops into Iraq and Syria. However, 23 percent would not send ground troops and most of them would "strongly oppose" sending ground troops which suggests it might be a voting issue for them which means those voters could make up the base of the Paul camp. Winning 24% of the vote was sufficient to win the caucus in 2012. With the massively crowded field in 2016 the winner might get less than that.
The normal caveats apply here to polling. It's a long way out, foreign policy views can change quickly, and the sample is small and who knows what a caucus attendee will look like once we get closer-- Paul more than perhaps any other candidate has a chance to change the shape of the pie. Also, I'd like to know what those 72 percent think the ground troops are going to do in Iraq and Syria, but that's another question all-together.