I think the AP report on its own hot poll just reflects a headline mindset that that only the most fashionable candidates rate a mention. In this case that excluded Ron Paul from newsthink.
A fresh AP/GfK poll attempted to measure the favorability/unfavorability ratings of the "top" ten GOP candidates, and Paul was included. The writer assigned to turn the poll into publishable words didn't think Paul's showing was newsworthy. The good doctor didn't rate even a nod.
The more detailed report -- unpublishable in general news files -- tells a different story. In total favorability ratings, Paul beats everyone in the field except Romney. He beats Bachmann, Palin, Gingrich and the rest of the headliners.
Not surprisingly, he fares more poorly in the unfavorable category -- beating "only" Gingrich, Palin, and, err, Romney. Twenty-one years of being snickered at folks who talk on the electric teevee channels will do that to a guy.
Caution: Polling geekery alert:
The news report in the first cite above uses numbers different from the raw poll results. The narrative story deals with favorability ratings among Republicans only, while the data in the second covers opinions of all people polled. The number-crunching methodology to get from one to the other isn't reported. There's nothing necessarily sinister in that, and it doesn't alter the point that the news story contains a large black hole.