Fox News host Sean Hannity dismissed a text messaging poll from his own network after presidential candidate Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) scored a decisive victory among television viewers of Sunday's Republican debate.
"You've got your Ron Paul folks out there, so I'm not a big believer in that particular poll," said Hannity after the results were announced. The text voting showed Paul had edged his nearest competitor, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, by seven percentage points, and trounced Rudy Giuliani -- the leader in many national telephone polls -- by a margin of 23.
In a post-debate interview, Paul had pointed out to Hannity that his performance in polls such as Fox's might have something to do with what he calls a softening tone from leading Republican contenders, who he says aren't "nearly as militant" as they were some months ago. Paul is the only GOP candidate calling for the immediate withdrawal of US troops from Iraq.
"So you think you've Ron Paulized them?" asked Hannity, referring to his own trademarked phrase, "Hannitized," which he uses to describe a successful political conversion.
"Well, they have to to listen to these polls, don't they?" said Paul of his primary rivals.
But Hannity laughed off the unscientific text poll. "You've got all your supporters," Hannity said, making a brushing-away motion with his hand.
"You mean your own poll isn't any good?" asked Paul.
"No," said Hannity. "It's just a lot of fun."
Staunch supporters on the internet have brought Rep. Paul strong showings in recent online polls, and the congressman was also cited earlier this month as the Republican candidate who has raised the most money among donors identified as affiliated with the military.
Asked earlier in the segment if he would rally behind the Republican nominee for president in the event he himself was not nominated, the famously Libertarian-leaning Paul would not pledge to automatically throw his support to someone from his party.
"I wouldn't ever give a blanket check for that," the candidate said, adding later that the notion would "undo everything I've stood for for 30 years." However, he did not rule out endorsing one of the Republican frontrunners.
The following video is from Fox's Hannity & Colmes, broadcast on October 21, 2007.