Since posting about this issue, I've discovered it is notlimitedtotables. In fact, 'padding' -- i.e., the amount of white space between text at the margin borders and the actual margin -- and in this latest case, in a regular (non-table) document -- is now part of the formatting of all GDOCS docs. (In a table, 'padding' refers instead to the space between text at the cell borders and the cell borders themselves.)
So, what happens is:
If I paste a paragraph of text into a regular document now (i.e., a doc that's been converted by Google to the 'new' GDOCS format) and then select 'Clear Formatting' for that pasted-in text, the text takes on Google's factory default padding.
Obviously, what it should do isconform to the settings that are already in the doc itself.
Let me say that again: THE SETTINGS THAT ARE ALREADY IN THE DOCUMENT (NOT FACTORY DEFAULTS THAT MAY NO LONGER BE USED AT ALL IN THE DOCUMENT) ARE WHAT PASTED-IN TEXT SHOULD CONFORM TO.