General Question

kevbo's avatar

Are there any data (polling or otherwise) showing levels of support for third party candidates?

Asked by kevbo (25603points) October 5th, 2008

In other words, do we know what percentage of voters are likely to vote for the various third party candidates (who or more or less on ballots nationwide)? FYI, they are:

Chuck Baldwin- Constitution Party
Cynthia McKinney- Green Party
Ralph Nader- Independent
Bob Barr- Libertarian Party

I’m curious to know if any of them have a “breakout” lead among that pack.

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7 Answers

syz's avatar

And as an addendum to Kevbo’s question:

Do any of those third parties actually threaten to “split” the republican vote? While I admit to being woefully inadequate on political questions, it seems that any alternate vote always seems to take away from the democratic party.

marinelife's avatar

According to Rasmussen, less that four % for all combined.

“Four percent (4%) are either undecided or plan to vote for a third-party candidate. ”

BTW, the Florida ballot also has Gloria LaRiva (PSL), Gene Amondson (PRO), Thomas Robert Stevens (OBJ), James Harris (SWP), Alan Keyes (AIP), Brian Moore (SPF) and Charles Jay (BTP). In Florida, Nader is listed as the ECO candidate.

marinelife's avatar

To respond to syz’s point, back in May Rasmussen made the following predictions:

“According to Rasmussen, in a four-way race between Barack Obama (Democrat) John McCain (Republican), Bob Barr (Libertarian), and Ralph Nader (Green Party), the results would be as follows:

# Obama 42%
# McCain 38%
# Barr 6%
# Nader 4%
# Undecided 11% (yes, 11% due to rounding)

Given the dissatisfaction amongst significant numbers of Republicans – especially conservative Republicans, and some Democrats, third party candidates could potentially receive an even larger percentage of the vote.”

wundayatta's avatar

I find those number very questionable. Minor party candidates almost never get more than 2 or 3 percent, and usually less than 1 percent. I think Nader got around 2% last time, maybe more, but he will almost certainly get less this time, if past history is any quide. Third party candidates usually do the best the first time out; after that, their support slips in subsequent elections.

Most people know that third party candidates are a sideshow. A vote for one is mainly a symbolic vote. In swing states, I expect the vote for third party candidates to be much less than in states which are clearly on one side or the other.

There are reasons to run a candidate, even though you get no votes. I think they have something to do with access to federal funds, or strategically, to build a local presence by showing national scope. That’s not enough to justify the numbers reported by Rasmussen.

marinelife's avatar

I think you are right, daloon. The October polls are much lower (see my first post).

jvgr's avatar

I wasn’t a supporter of Ross Perot, but I did, privately, root for his success.
A viable 3rd party would get us off the left/right bickering and on an issue oriented track.

CrankMonkey's avatar

Third parties do poorly in American politics. Perot did get 19% in 1992, but that was the high water mark for modern times. What tends to happen is that a third party emerges when there is some contentious issue, but it winds up merging with one of the existing parties.

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