Sunday, August 17, 2008

The advantage that Bob Barr threw away: down-ticket Libertarians

Independent Political Report notes in a round-up of poll numbers that Bob Barr is pulling down 3% in North Carolina and "just under" 5% in Texas.

Although it has generally escaped comment, this is the latest evidence that down-ticket Libertarians are carrying Bob Barr on their coat-tails, and not the other way around.

Let's think this through. Here are the most recent numbers for the three prominent LP candidates in North Carolina:

Senate: Chris Cole--7%

Governor: Mike Munger--5%

President: Bob Barr--3%

North Carolina, by the way, is where we have Bob Barr on record claiming in a radio interview that his candidacy would prove to be a boon for (wait for it) . . . down-ticket Republicans.

In Texas, the Libertarian Party has been surging into the 5%-range across the State for months, prompting GOP pressure on LP candidates to drop out of State House races, because in 5 or 6 key districts the LP vote may cause previously safe Republican seats to be in jeopardy.

The Barr effect? Hardly. Just take a look at Libertarian performance in the Lone Star State in 2006 (when Barr's self-named PAC was still funneling money to GOPers around the country):

Congressional District 22
Bob Smither (L) - 6.06%

State House District 17
Roderick (Rod) Gibbs (L) - 3.19%

State House District 35
Edward Elmer (L) - 5.35%

State House District 47
Yvonne Schick (L) - 4.22%

State House District 50
Jerry Chandler (L) - 4.65%

State House District 52
Lillian Simmons (L) - 5.26%

State House District 85
David K. Schumacher (L) - 2.72%

So if Bob Barr is polling "just under" 5% in Texas, he appears again to be riding on the backs of down-ticket Libertarians.

Imagine what might have been possible had either the Barr campaign or national LP headquarters actually paid attention to this phenomena.

Maybe next time.


Duffy said...

Bob Barr believes in only one thing: that Bob Barr should be in office somewhere instead of getting a real job.

Anonymous said...

I've been watchign these campaigns for 20 years, and down ticket libertarians almost always poll higher than the presidential candidate. The reason is the phenomena of 'throwing your vote away'. People don't care about down tickets and are willing to protest there. Also sometimes down ticket candidates only have 1 major party running, in which case the lp candidate really skyrockets to 25% or so.

Anyway, this is nothing new. Every 4 years, the LP explodes in and self destructs in an ego fest.

It happens in every party, not to criticise the LP. Democrats have their PUMA (project unity my ass), republicans had Ann Coulter who said McCain was so bad she'd have to endorse Clinton first.

But Libertarians are idealists and political neophytes for the most part who join and then get disulliosned and take all this to heart, instead of taking the long view, that this is the nature of the political beast.

Bob Barr is one of the best candidates we've had. Of course, smaller parties like the Constitution party, cannot make any headway in the general electorate, so they spend their entire campaign trying to poach LP support. OF was always this way, and its true for LP too, its why we spent our entire campaign trying to get Ron Paul voters. Its darn near impossible to get Joe6Pack to care about anything.