Republican Presidential candidate Rep. Ron Paul, of Texas released his first television advertisement and three radio ads on Aug. 7 aimed at Iowa’s conservative voters.
The 30-second Iowa ad to run in Des Moines, Cedar Rapids and Sioux City and encourages residents to vote for Paul at the Ames straw poll on Saturday.
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is the only high-profile candidate participating, leaving Paul and the other lower tier candidates jostling for attention in what is historically an informal gauge of organizational strength and party popularity.
While his campaign has caught fire among supporters on the Internet, Paul has yet to make a strong showing in national polls or mainstream media reports.
A Paul-affiliated Web site reported that the campaign is paying for 500 supporters to get to the poll, and a slew of town hall meetings and other events, including a musical performance dubbed ‘Ronstock’ will precede the straw poll.
Although most mainstream media has focused on Romney and other “top-tier” candidates, at least some people are betting on Paul. The gambling Web site Gambling911.com reported Tuesday that the libertarian-leaning congressman has garnered significantly more support among online gamblers, who are putting their money where their mouths are.
Gambling911.com Publisher Chris Costigan said Paul supporters have flooded betting Web site Sportsbook.com, driving the odds on a Paul presidential victory from 200:1 to 8:1 over several months. According to Gambling911.com, Sportsbook.com attracts the most customers of any North American-facing betting Web site.
Costigan said Paul’s new odds have a lot to do with his online support. “We have a very strong following in his followers, they post links to our articles all over the Web,” he said. “He opened at 200:1 and once his supporters got wind of those odds they started betting on him.”
As for some of the other candidates, Romney, who leads polling in Iowa, also has 8:1 odds, and Democratic front-runner Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York leads the Sportsbook.com odds at 2:1.