I didn't really think about this much before, but it kind of makes sense that Ron Paul would be doing better this year than last time around. The big thing that'd make Paul unacceptable to the GOP base was insufficiently hawkish foreign policy views, and Republicans get less hawkish when they've been out of the White House for a while. George W. Bush in 2000 was talking about how he'd pursue a more humble foreign policy.
Paul's not a terribly unusual Republican in other respects. You get deviations on issues here and there -- marijuana, for example, and he does take the anti-federal-government thing to a unique extreme. But he's totally against abortion, okay with letting Social Security get defunded, and he doesn't really care about climate change.