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The Nader Non-Factor

The Washington Post had a good front-page article today, "A Fading 'Nader Factor'?". The article points out, as I have repeatedly, that Nader's vote is likely to be a lot smaller than last time and, hence, less dangerous to the Democrats.

But the article also provides empirical backing for the idea that the Nader will not only be smaller, but also less likely to hurt the Democratic candidate than last time. Here's an excerpt from the article:

A survey conducted this month for the Democratic National Committee by pollster Stanley Greenberg showed Nader averaging 1.5 percent of the vote in a dozen battleground states where his name appears on the ballot, compared with about 3 percent in the summer. It also showed that most of the support Nader lost had shifted to Kerry and indicated that his remaining backers would be as likely to vote for Bush as for the Massachusetts Democrat, if Nader were not running.

And it's not just Greenberg who says this:

Frank Newport, editor in chief of the Gallup Poll, said his research has shown for months that when Nader is removed from poll questionnaires, the margin separating the two major candidates is unaltered.

So one less problem to worry about. Let's concentrate on what's really important: mobilization, mobilization, mobilization.


The only problem with the current "Three State Theory" (whoever wins 2 out of 3 between OH, PA, FL wins the election) is that Bush is doing better in both WI and IA and that KE could win PA and OH, lose FL, IA, and WI, and lose the election. That may be why Kerry is campaigning in NV right now.

Some other potential areas for stumping may be NC, VA and WV. At least make Bush defend these.

I've spent a lot of time this year doing craft-registration of voters (craft = small number...17 this year...but maintaining contact and getting them to mobilized and to the polls and in many cases registering people themselves).

A lot of the population I deal with are natural Nader supporters, so I'm familiar with the demographic in this specific region.

Very few Nader supporters will vote Nader this time and will vote for Kerry. Reason: They believe Kerry is campaigning as what they view as a Democrat, while they didn't vote for Gore Junior in 2000 because believed herwas campaigning as Kinder, Gentler Republican.

The Nader voters I meet now are more frequently not Nader supporters -- they are "perfect voter" types who are conservative and generally vote Repub but will not vote for Bush Junior. And yes, there are some militant Nader supporters in the remainder, too.

But the Greenberg Fade effect will most probably happen, and especially in states perceived as close races.

Kerry is not going to lose WI. Did you see the picture of the rally? I think the recent Strategic Vision polls (plus SUSA) has given the picture that WI is vulnerable. I don't think this is going to happen. IA I could see Kerry losing. If it ends that way, Kerry wins with 2 out 3 big state strategy. No doubt about it, it's going to be a rough fight in OH, FL, IA, and WI. I think PA is a lost cause for Bush. NH is going Kerry. Don't even worry about NJ. NM is gonna be Kerry. NV, I'm not sure if Kerry's time there is well spent. CO will probably go Bush. If this holds, Kerry wins!

Electoral Vote.com had 271 Bush 267 Kerry tonight. Bush is beatable!

The trendlines are running Kerry's way but it is absolutely important that we sell our man to every undecided voter!

three of the four electoral vote predictors on 2004k.com were calling it for Kerry tonight. It is Kerry's to lose! We need to help him put it away!


Andrea Moro's work from UMINN. She is calling it 51.4% probability of victory with a 6 EV margin towards Kerry for the final vote(Simulation study)

Basic work Bush 271.

MOBILIZE the troops! Her website has some really interesting visuals. It looks like bush is trending negative but we must keep up LTE's to counter his prevarications.

I said (http://deep_blade.tripod.com/journal/index.blog?entry_id=233424) just this when Nader announced. Here in Maine, our state Democratic Party wasted countless hours and alienated thousands of Green voters (most of whom could be convinced to vote for Kerry with the right persuation) with an ill-conceived and ultimately failed attempt to deny Ralph Nader ballot access. Meanwhile, we can't even get Kerry/Edwards lawn signs. Couldn't some of that lawyer money have helped the ground campaign?

There are now states with early voting, at which exit polls could be done. However, early voters may be atypical. At least, I have had described to me such data for one state, expected to go for Kerry, with Kerry where he was expected to be in the lead, Bush lagging, and largish (6% each) numbers for Badnarik and Cobb. As I said, early voters may be atypical.

For some time, the site has taken note of the fact that Democrats have historically been better at GOTV efforts than Republicans, noting this as a reason to discount LV polls that show a seemingly disproportionate Bush lead.

That wasn't the case in the 2002 midterms, however. Karl Rove took the lesson from Gore's 2000 effort, and spent a lot of time and money on his "72 Hour Project," which many credit with the R's surprisingly sound victories.

This year's efforts make '02 look like chump change - the R's have spent unprecedented millions in organizing their ground game, including both their standard voter suppression/intimidation efforts and the D's standard phone banks and other GOTV efforts.

I'd be interested in hearing some thoughts about how this might effect the standard curve re: high voter turn out - why would things be the same as 2000 this time around?

The best thing the Democrats could ever do (in preparation of the 2008 election of course) would be to embrace Nader and follow his lead for reform. His specific analysis is invaluable and will provide the Democratic party with a road map for winning the 18-35 progressive block of young voters. This is the age group that will be most politically savvy, most informed (due to growing up with the Internet), and most difficult to attract to the Democratic circle with "Business As Usual". The tactics of Clinton and the "run to the middle" methods will not work in 2008. Reform is on the horizon.

...in the end, I really think Kerry will win Florida... Recall they projected that the minimum wage initiative would churn out a 5% turnout increase -- people on the low end who come out to vote themselves a pay increase are going to be overwhelmingly Democrat...

Also, Nevada has a similar referendum on the ballot...My guess is that the Kerry people see some internal polling out there predicting a similar surge (like the one possible in Fla)... Having Kerry speak there last night to energize canvassers may push him over the edge...

Any comments?



As *possible* evidence of my previous point about Fla, see today's WP... there's a story about how Dems are turning up in larger proportions than Repubs in early FLA voting so far... i.e., a county has 35% registered Dems, but Dems make up 40% of all early voters there...of course, that might not statistically mean anything...But at the least, it reflects energy, I would think...


I was a little surprised to see that only one of the first five comments on “The Nader Non-Factor” was actually about Nader’s impact, but perhaps that just confirms the title of the post being commented on. At any rate, I wanted to call readers attention to an excellent article by Christopher Magee of Bucknell, “Third-Party Candidates and the 2000 Presidential Election,” published in Social Science Quarterly in September 2003. It is relevant to the current discussion because Prof. Magee’s results suggest Nader’s factor was a lot less in 2000—or at least more indirect—than most Democrats (and others) seem to think.

Magee’s analysis suggests that Gore would have received 32-40% of Nader’s votes in 2000 had Nader dropped out. This is presumably a lot less than many of us would have assumed. Bush would have gotten 14-17%. (Also worth noting that he estimates Gore would have gotten 14-21% of Buchanan’s votes, and Bush 28-35%.)

I think Greenberg is right that this year, the bulk of those Nader voters who would consider Kerry their second choice have already decided to vote for Kerry. In that sense, Nader is a non-factor this time, in terms of affecting how voters vote.

More relevant is the question of what, if any, impact Nader’s presence has on the strategies of the Democratic party. Magee estimated that Nader’s presence in the 2000 race shifted Gore’s optimal placement on a six-point left-right ideological scale by 0.7 points. Note that this is *optimal* positioning. By being more centrist, Gore would have lost more votes to Nader than he lost to Bush by positioning himself somewhat more to the left.

This is relevant to questions of Democratic strategy, and in particular to the point raised by “WeirdScenes” above. WeirdScenes suggests Dems need to adopt the “reform” mantle in 2008. Perhaps they already have in 2004. I wonder what Magee’s analysis would say for this campaign. For what it worth, Peter Beinart, in his TRB column for The New Republic (http://www.tnr.com/doc.mhtml?i=20040308&s=trb030804) in the March 8 issue, said that the Democrats already have done—since 2000—what WeirdScenes is willing to wait till 2008 for. An excerpt from the TRB:

“if "people versus the powerful" was a controversial theme among Democrats in 2000, today it is standard fare. Both John Kerry and John Edwards have made attacks on corporate "special interests" centerpieces of their campaign stump speeches.”

It will be hard for Democrats to do still more in 2008. Unless Kerry loses this year. Pretty hard to become a “reformer” when you are an incumbent seeking reelection. Bush has tried at times, but it seems to be falling on deaf ears. If people want “reform” they don’t want the incumbent to continue. In this sense, Nader has been a factor this year, but in a way that helps, not hurts, the progressive Democratic cause.

Yes, reform is on the horizon, and that horizon is a lot closer than you might think.

Nader is not a factor for the remaining UNDECIDEDS.

He will have minimal impact on the states in which he remains on the ballot, but I do not believe his total will have relevance this election.

Kerry is going to win big, so it won't matter.

Hey, how about the Libertarian factor? You gotta think that there are some Repubs that will vote Libertarian this year b/c they can't stomach voting for a 'liberal' but they hate the Justice Department's promotion of the Patriot Act.

In regards, to Nader, I'd be surprised if he gets half of what he got last time (approx. 2.7% of the vote). Look, the only people that will vote for Nader are the anarchist, hemp-advocate types that don't vote Dem anyway. Even Chomsky is recommending that people vote Dem in swing states.

Yes, mobilization is KEY and it's not too late for anyone to get involved. Here are easy ways to do SOMETHING, complete with links to get you started NOW. Please pass on to your friends, especially those in swing states, or who know people in swing states.