Election 2012

9 8 Libertarian 'Spoilers' in One Handy Chart! [UPDATED]

On Monday, I noted six federal races in which the Libertarian Party candidate on Nov. 6 received considerably more votes than the margin of victory of a winning Democrat over a losing Republican.

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On Monday, I noted six federal races in which the Libertarian Party candidate on Nov. 6 received considerably more votes than the margin of victory of a winning Democrat over a losing Republican. Now, Daily Kos elections diarist David Nir has taken those six, added three more, and pasted the numbers into a nifty little chart:

Numbers!

Before you go blaming those damned LP blue-faces for pissing in the Republican Party punchbowl, let's take a closer look at those numbers:

Blame the LP? Not so fast.

* In order to blame Andrew Horning for Richard Mourdock's U.S. Senate loss in Indiana, you have to assume that 97% of the Libertarian's votes would have gone to the Republican. I'm ready to declare that an impossibility. Similarly, 86% of Brendan Kelly's votes would have had to be directly transferable to Rep. Frank Guinta to change the outcome in New Hampshires 1st Congressional District, which seems like a stretch.

* According to the Reason-Rupe pre-election poll, Gary Johnson took roughly equal amounts of support from Mitt Romney and Barack Obama. From Emily Ekins' write-up:

Fifty-seven percent of Johnson voters self identify as politically independent. When asked if they lean toward one of the major political parties, 53 percent lean toward the Republicans and 38 percent lean toward the Democrats. Only 10 percent say they are completely Independent. In sum, Johnson voters are most likely to be Independent-leaning Republicans.

Forty-one percent of Johnson voters self-identify as libertarian. Only 14 percent self-identify as conservative and 10 percent self-identify as liberal. Using the Reason-Rupe ideological typology, 65 percent of Johnson voters are libertarian, the remainder is liberal or conservative, and none are communitarian.

If we apportion the LP votes in the chart along the lines of that 53%-38%-10% split, then–as best as I can calculate–there are no spoilers in the chart above. Obviously, there are reasons to believe that the 53-38-10 formula is flawed, but (unlike the implied 100-0-0 number people sometimes use to divvy up third-party votes), at least it's based on real polling data.

UPDATE: Scratch Kerry Bentivolito off that Kos list of losing Republicans. As FoxNews.com explains, "On the same day Bentivolio won a two-year seat in the 113th Congress which starts next year, [Democrat David] Curson simultaneously won a special election to finish [outgoing Rep. Thad] McCotter's term during the lame duck session."

NEXT: FBI Shoots Up House of Unarmed People

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  1. Stop apologizing. I hope libertarians cost someone the election.

    Neither party changes its policies to attract voters it actually got in an election. They only change policies to get voters they failed to get, particularly if they are considered swing voters. Look at Republicans. They are running around in circles thinking about how to change their policies to attract Hispanics because these folks did not vote for them.

    The best possible thing for libertarians is to show that we swung lots of elections.

    1. Apologizing? Sounds to me like he’s gloating, which he should be.

      Unfortunately, the GOP will not learn from this, so it’s a moot point.

      You can’t reason with the faithful.

      1. Or if anything he’s apologizing for NOT actually making them lose, which despite Ekins’ polling data, I think is somewhat debateable.

    2. I agree.

      The more important thing, I think is to create more libertarian voters.
      Libertarians are going to have to go out and become a bit evangelical.

  2. Ai-yo, reasonoid edi-tors! That chart is effed: Tea Partyer Kerry Bentivolio won his race.

  3. So what this says is that the Libertarian Party not only was greatly out voted by both the Democrats and the Republican, but they didn’t even have a realistic chance of swinging close elections.

    Not good news.

  4. Johnson’s appeal to both left and right leaning voters was one big reason the media pretended he didn’t exist. He might actually have hurt Obama in a few states.

    A far-right fringe third party will never win, because most right-leaning voters will stay in the main Republican camp. But a centrist third party the leans right on fiscal issues and left on social issues could well be viable. It wouldn’t be as radical as most of us would like, but it could be a big improvement over Teams Blue and Red.

  5. I think Mia Love losing is not a good thing for Libertarians. Mourdock was an idiot who deserved to lose. I don’t know about the rest. But I don’t think killing Love’s career is anything to be proud of.

    And do Libertarians ever tip the race against Liberals? Seems like they should at least once in a while.

    1. Considering how close her race was, I can’t believe she isn’t going to be pressured to run again in 2 years when theres not obama at the top of the ticket. drawing the young people out in Salt Lake.

    2. We did in a colorado assembly race (in theory of course).

  6. Why would you blame libertarians on Mourdock’s loss? It was what God intended.

  7. Forty-one percent of Johnson voters self-identify as http://www.cheapfootballcleatsairs.com/ libertarian. Only 14 percent self-identify as conservative and 10 percent self-identify as liberal. Using the Reason-Rupe ideological typology, 65 percent of Johnson voters are libertarian, the remainder is liberal or http://www.nikefootballcleatstrade.com/ conservative, and none are communitarian.

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