Observations on the world today.

Tuesday, March 09, 2004

Told Ya So 

Just the other day I mentioned that a poll showed Kerry and Bush tied with Nader taking 6% of the vote in that particular poll. The article reporting the polling results quoted a republican who was voting for Nader. I said that regardless of that one voter, if Nader was getting votes, they would come from voters who would otherwise likely support Kerry.

Well, two new polls - one from the Washington Post and ABC, the other from CNN, Gallup, and the USA Today shows precisely where Nader's supporters come from.

Graphic from pollingreport.com

Clearly, these polls show that Nader's presence in the election is in no way a souce of concern for Bush at all. His numbers remain unchanged whether or not Nader is made a factor in the poll. Fortunately, these polls also demonstrate that Nader's influence at this point is also not enough to throw the election to Bush either. But that could change.

The other night, I caught a few minutes of Tim Robbins speaking with Larry King. Robbins said it was arrogant for democrats to suggest that Nader's candidacy stole votes from their party. He seemed miffed at the very idea that democrats would suggest that those are "our votes." And that's true. If we want to court any potential Nader votes, we have to make sure we don't insult their delicate sensitivities by suggesting in any way that we own their vote. We do not own their vote.

But, if they vote for Nader, Bush owns their vote. In fact, for every Nader vote, Bush owns two votes; one Nader vote and the Kerry vote it cancels out.

Consider the following scenario. With no Nader on the ballot in state X, Kerry wins 51% of the vote. With Nader on the ballot in state X, Nader takes 2% of the vote, Kerry loses 2% and Bush picks up zero percentage points, but Bush wins the state. Nader has no use for that 2%, but Kerry did, and they gave the state to Bush. So who benefits? Not Kerry. Not Nader. And certainly not the Nader voter.
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