Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Libertarian candidates garner over 1.4 million votes nationwide

In order to determine the total Libertarian vote nationwide, I went state by state through the currently available results (about 98-99% at the moment) and looked for the highest vote total in any one of four categories--President, Governor, Senator, or combined Congressional races.

This led to the following accumulation of data [which I am sure can be refined and corrected]

Alabama—Barr 4,983/no other LP vote
Alaska—Barr 1,090/Senate 1,606
Arizona—Barr 10,394/ Congressional 49,341
Arkansas—Barr 4,704/no other LP candidates
California—Barr 50,006// Congressional 165,720 [11.5% of national LP vote]
Colorado—Barr 9,398/Charles Jay 525/Congressional 11,276
Connecticut—Barr not on ballot/Congressional 1,815
Delaware—Barr 1,108/Congressional 3,583
DC—not on ballot
Florida—Barr 16,587/Charles Jay 774/no other LP candidates
Georgia—Barr 28,420/Senatorial 126,238 [8.8% of national LP vote]
Hawaii—Barr 1,226/Congressional 10,247
Idaho—Barr 7,112/Gubernatorial 9,938
Illinois—Barr 19,061/Senatorial 48,663
Indiana—Barr 29,186/Gubernatorial 57,193
Iowa—Barr 4,619/no other LP candidates
Kansais—Barr 6,565/Congressional 25,091
Kentucky—Barr 5,960/no other LP vote
Louisiana—Ron Paul 9,353/Senatorial 18,559
Maine—not on ballot
Maryland—Barr 8,093/Congressional 42,559
Massachusetts—Barr 12,989/Senatorial 94,745 [6.6% of national LP vote]
Michigan—Barr 28,962/Congressional 77,812 [5.4% of national LP vote]
Minnesota—Barr 9,176//Senatorial 13,915
Mississippi—Barr 2,416/no other LP candidates
Missouri—Barr 11,355/Congressional 82,326 [5.7% of national LP vote]
Montana—Barr 1,300/Congressional 15,676
Nebraska—Barr 2,626/no other LP candidates
Nevada—Barr 4,258/Congressional 20,354
New Hampshire—Barr 2,013/Senatorial 20,056
New Jersey—Barr 8,017/no other LP candidates
New York—Barr 22,520/outpolled single HR candidate
North Carolina—Barr 25,409/Senatorial 131,893 [9.2% of national LP vote]
North Dakota—Barr 1,064/no other LP candidates
Ohio—Barr 18,239/Congressional 45,976
Oklahoma—not on ballot
Oregon—Barr 5,258/Congressional 10,662
Pennsylvania—Barr 19,907/outpolled single HR candidate
Rhode Island—Barr 1,313/no other LP candidates
South Carolina—Barr 7,455/no other LP candidates
South Dakota—Barr 1,835/no other LP candidates
Tennessee—Barr 8,559/Charles Jay 1,011/no other LP candidates
Texas—Barr 56,398/Congressional 297,566 [20.7% of national LP vote]
Utah—Barr 6,461/Gubernatorial 22,905
Vermont—Barr 964/no other LP candidates
Virginia—Barr 10,568/Senatorial 19,128
Washington—Barr 6,454/no other LP candidates
West Virginia—not on ballot
Wisconsin—Barr 8,795/Congressional 12,751
Wyoming—Barr 1,557/Congressional 10,823
Total 1,438,292

1.438 million of 121.772 million cast=1.18% of the total Presidential vote

67.9% of the national Libertarian vote came from seven states [California, Georgia, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, North Carolina, and Texas]

Consider those states

California 165,720 Libertarian votes/10,184,513 total votes [1.6% LP vote]
Georgia 128,236 Libertarian votes/3,862,027 total votes [3.3% LP vote]
Massachusetts 94,745 Libertarian votes/3,048,435 total votes [3.1% LP vote]
Michigan 77,812 Libertarian votes/4,993,499 total votes [1.6% LP vote]
Missouri 82,326 Libertarian votes/2,916,661 total votes [2.8% LP vote]
North Carolina 131,893 Libertarian votes/4,258,036 total votes [3.1% LP vote]
Texas 297,566 Libertarian votes/8,045,310 total votes [3.7% LP vote]

I haven't gone state by state to determine the Libertarian vote as a percentage of the total state vote, nor have I attempted to calculate for factors like the Constitution Party vote or other Independents; this is work that needs to be done.

But the preliminary conclusions are fairly sound at this point:

1. The Libertarian presidential vote represents only about 1/3 of the total Libertarian votes cast; two out of three people who cast State votes for an LP candidate do not vote for the party's presidential nominee. There are a lot of potential motivations for this to be explored, but the raw numbers support my working thesis that the way to grow the Libertarian vote is through participation in more State and local races, with less emphasis placed on the national ticket as make-or-break.

2. The national Libertarian vote is 1.2%, but we see states above 3% and individual races wherein the LP candidates got well into double figures. Several Statewide candidates (Allen Buckley, Yvonne Schick, Chris Cole, Michael Munger, and a few others) broke the 100,000 vote barrier quite easily. Yvonne Schick in Texas received the equivalent of 37.6% of Bob Barr's national vote just in the Lone Star State. We need to focus on finding regions in which Libertarian candidates are already doing well, and throw our limited support behind them; there is a breakthrough in there somewhere.

3. Our Presidential candidates, in the future, need to concentrate not necessarily on where the battlegrounds are, but where the Libertarian votes are.

I recognize that there are Libertarians who will be offended by this type of analysis, because it suggests coordinated political strategies that are at odds with their own non-hierarchical approach to politics.

I guess the question for them to answer is whether or not what they've been doing is working.


tom said...

You forgot:

4. Our presidential candidates need to be libertarians.

5. Our presidential candidates need to actually campaign instead of using our donations to do favors for friends & relatives and blowing off any event that won't guarantee them some arbitrarily chosen criteria such as $5000 in donations (although it's not unreasonable to ask the organizers to cover their actual expenses or a portion thereof).

What you're seeing in this years numbers is probably more the Barr Effect than an actual trend. I remember previous elections where the presidential vote totals were much closer to those of statewide LP candidates and in some cases better.

Anonymous said...

That 98% counted is precincts, not votes. In many places, the precinct has voted and been, but the absentee and early vote counting for the precinct is just started. There are about 115-120 million votes that have been counted, but probably over 130 million total votes. For example, California votes counted to date are 20% below 2004.