Pawlenty is out and Perry is in so Paul will probably fair as well in future polls as long as the field is crowded. After New Hampshire, the field will probably winnow to him, Perry, Romney and Bachmann. He may be able to nudge in some second place finishes on super Tuesday. If he gets a first place anywhere the media will find a reason to dismiss it.
If Bachmann or Perry folds, Paul faces a harder road with his plateau firmly in place. Second place is meaningless and he is not getting to the top with out a real coalition. I hate to belabor this point but someone has to keep saying it until the strategy is implemented or rejected.