The Republican Party's Ron Paul dilemma, a top GOP pollster writes in a new memo, is that that while Paul is "not a Republican," he has managed to expand the party's ranks.
Republican Pollster Bill McInturff writes that Paul depended heavily on first-time voters and caucus-goers, many of whom have little to do with the GOP.
Thirty-three percent of first-time Iowa caucus-goers' votes went to Paul, and 38 percent went to him in New Hampshire. Compare that with Mitt Romney's 17 and 24 percent, respectively.
"Most simply put, Ron Paul is not a Republican," McInturff writes. "He just chose to run in the Republican primary. Most of his supporters have weak to non-existent
ties inside the Republican Party."
"Having said that, it also means our understanding of the exit polls needs
to incorporate and filter in the impact of these Paul voters."
The effect of the Paul bloc gets a boost also from the fact that turnout was at a record high this year in the early states.
But only one of the candidates is "broadly acceptable to the primary electorate," according to exit polls -- Mitt Romney. The figures from New Hampshire:
McInturff writes that "New Hampshire is simply too different to have much bearing on what comes next, but the results to this set of questions in South Carolina would be enormously important and revealing."
You can see the full memo here.