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Ron Paul is wrong about popularity of gold standard

The statement

Says a new national poll shows "the majority of the American people believe we should have a gold standard" for U.S. currency.

U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, after the Iowa caucuses

The ruling

Here's a summary of the gold standard from the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service:

Today, "the U.S. monetary system is based on paper money backed by the full faith and credit of the federal government. The currency is neither valued in, backed by, nor officially convertible into gold or silver. Through much of its history, however, the United States was on a metallic standard of one sort or another."

The pure gold standard ended in 1933, CRS said, "when the federal government halted convertibility of notes into gold and nationalized the private gold stock." Remnants persisted until the early 1970s, but then disappeared. Advocates have pushed for reinstatement in part to constrain inflation and shore up the dollar's value.

Asked for the claim's source, Paul spokesman Jesse Benton pointed us to a Roll Call column by gold standard supporter Benko and Andresen Blom, executive director of American Principles in Action.

The column mentions surveys conducted by Polling Co. Inc. of likely Republican primary voters and caucus-goers in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina.

"Fifty percent of New Hampshire voters favor the gold standard, with more than half of those favoring it 'very strongly,' " Benko and Blom wrote. Similar polls in Iowa and South Carolina found support for the gold standard at 57 and 51 percent.

So Paul is correct on the number — but way off on the description. This was not a "national poll" that shows that a "majority of the American people believe we should have a gold standard." Instead, it was three polls in three states, with respondents from only one party — and even among this narrow sample, it only asked those who are active enough politically to be considered likely to participate in the primary. The survey was also commissioned by a group that supports the gold standard.

When we told Benton, Paul's spokesman, that the polls to which he referred us were not a national poll, he said of Paul's comment, "Relax, dude, it was a rally speech to supporters, not a major policy speech or a debate."

And we rate it False.

This ruling has been edited for print. Read the full version at PolitiFact.com.

Ron Paul is wrong about popularity of gold standard 01/06/12 [Last modified: Friday, January 6, 2012 10:30pm]
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