Exit Polls for Haugh, Sarvis: Who Did Those Libertarians "Spoil" Their Senate Races For?


Two Libertarian Party Senate candidates in prominent races beat the spread between their major-party opponents. In North Carolina, Libertarian Sean Haugh got 3.74 percent, with Republican Thom Tillis winning with 49 percent and Democrat Kay Hagan at 47.21.

It isn't common for Democrats to accuse Libertarians of "spoiling" elections for them, but a look at NBC News exit polls show that Haugh voters indeed came more from people who consider themselves "moderate" (5 percent of self-identified moderates went Haugh) and even "liberal" (4 percent of liberals voted for Haugh) than from conservatives (only 2 percent of whom voted for Haugh). Those were the only three choices for self-identification.

Only 1 percent each of self-identified Democrats or Republicans voted Haugh, while 9 percent of Independents did. (Those again were the only choices.) (Independents otherwise went 49-42 for Tillis over Hagan.)

In other exit poll results, Haugh's portion of the vote fell pretty steadily as age groups got older—he got 9 percent of the 18-24 vote, and only 2 percent of the 50-and-over crowd.

Haugh did strongest among white women in race/gender breakdowns, with 5 percent of that crowd, and only 1 percent of black men or black woman—and no polled number of Latino men or women.

Other interesting Haugh exit poll results: His overall man/woman breakdown was the same, 4 percent of each in the exit poll. Haugh's numbers got progressively smaller as voter income got bigger—he earned 6 percent of the under-$30K vote but only 1 percent of the over-$200K vote. Libertarians aren't just for plutocrats.

Interestingly, Haugh got more votes from people who want to raise the minimum wage than from those who don't, giving credence to the notion that he represents a libertarianism not that interested in economic liberty issues. He got more votes from those against the wars in Syria and Iraq than those for it, and only slightly more votes from pro-gay marriage types than anti-gay marriage types—5 percent of the pros, 4 percent of the antis.

Now for Robert Sarvis, who you can bet will be accused by some of "costing" Republican Ed Gillespie the Senate election. Sarvis got 2.45 percent of the vote; winning Democrat Mark Warner got 49 and Gillespie 48.48.

What can NBC's exit poll tell us about where Sarvis voters came from?

Sarvis drew equally from liberals, moderates, and conservatives according to this poll—3 percent of each.

But when it gets to party identification, he drew statistically nothing from Democrats, 3 percent from Republicans, and 7 percent from Independents. Independents were otherwise split evenly 47-47 between Warner and Gillespie. So, there is indeed some cause for GOPers to think that Sarvis' presence in the race was bad for them.

In other Sarvis exit poll results from NBC, Sarvis did best among Independent men, with 7 percent, and best among college graduates, with 6 percent. In term of family income, he did best among the under-$50K crowd, with 4 percent of those, vs. just 2 percent of the $100K or more folk. 

Sarvis did only slightly better with the antiwar crowd, getting 3 percent of them vs. 2 percent of the pro-war crowd. Sarvis got statistically zero among members of the military, and did better with the pro-gay-marriage crowd, getting 5 percent of the pro and only 2 percent of the anti. He also did better with small city and rural than suburbs or big city folk, getting 4 percent with the former and only 2 percent with the latter.