Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Libertarian Gary Johnson could be the spoiler who throws North Carolina . . . to Mitt Romney

2008 LP candidate Bob Barr
probably cost John McCain
North Carolina.  This year's
election could see Gary Johnson
hurt Barack Obama in NC.
Gary Johnson has always argued that he will take as many votes, in the end, from President Obama and he does from Governor Romney, but the MSM rarely listens.  The former two-term New Mexico Governor points out that there are not a lot of pot-legalizing, gay marriage-supporting, cut-the-defense budget Republicans out there.

North Carolina may well prove his point, dancing on the knife edge in the latest Survey USA poll, with Mitt Romney at 45% and Barack Obamas at 44%.  The 6% for Gary Johnson in last week's PPP poll is nowhere to be found, but that doesn't mean that the Libertarian presidential candidate is having no effect.

It is not unprecedented for a third-party candidate to have a major impact in the Tarheel State.  Despite the fact that nobody really covered the story when it happened, 2008 Libertarian Presidential nominee Bob Barr probably caused John McCain to lose the state.  The difference between Obama and McCain was about 14,000 votes; Barr received 25,000.  Given that Barr was one of the most socially conservative candidates run by the LP in a long time, it stands to reason that his small vote total was siphoning off Republicans.

But the down-ticket races in the same year reveal that most North Carolina Libertarians are left-libertarians and not right-libertarians.  LP gubernatorial candidate Michael Munger totaled over 120,000 votes, and openly gay LP senatorial candidate Chris Cole received 131,000.  That's 100,000 more Libertarians voting in down-ticket races than voted for Bob [Defense of Marriage, Patriot Act] Barr.

Which means that the socially liberal Gary Johnson stands to do at least as well as Barr, probably significantly bettter, and that many of his votes wll come at Barack Obama's expense.

This is not the conventional wisdom, but then, the conventional wisdom is so . . . conventional.

And what "everybody knows" is usually . . . wrong.

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