Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Will the Libertarians do this well?

PPP has included Libertarian candidates now in a number of its polls, and here's how they've done:

Office

Universe

Candidate and Percentage

President

North Carolina

Bob Barr (5%)

Governor

North Carolina

Michael Munger (5%)

President

NC 10

Bob Barr (6%)

Governor

NC 10

Michael Munger (6%)

Insurance Commissioner

North Carolina

Mark McMains (9%)

President

NC 8

Bob Barr (7%)

Governor

NC 8

Michael Munger (6%)

Congress

NC 8

Thomas Hill (7%)

President

North Carolina (June Poll)

Bob Barr (6%)

Governor

North Carolina (June Poll)

Michael Munger (4%)

Almost every time we put out a poll showing these Libertarians doing well, I see blog posts saying 'well, the Libertarians won't actually end up doing this well.' That's certainly the conventional wisdom, and I don't necessarily disagree with it but here are some reasons the decent showing they're getting in the polls could be legit:

1) People are unhappy with how both major parties are running the Government. President Bush's approval rating is under 40% in almost every state, even those that voted for him overwhelmingly. Congress, controlled by the Democrats, is even less popular with a Rasmussen poll yesterday showing just 9% of Americans approving of its performance. With the voters disgusted with how both the Democrats and Republicans are doing things, why wouldn't some vote for a third party this year?

2) Consistency. It's not like we had one good poll for Barr or Munger. We've included Barr in four polls now and he's performed between 5-7% in each one. Munger has been in the 4-6% range for each one. So this trend of Libertarians doing better than you might expect is not just based on one outlying poll.

3) Candidate strength. Bob Barr is well known for a third party Presidential candidate, and Michael Munger is certainly the most attractive and attention grabbing candidate the Libertarians have had in North Carolina in recent memory. It makes sense that they would do better than other recent nominees of their party.

It will be interesting to see how they do this fall.

3 comments:

Lance S said...

One comment on the Rasmussen congressional "approval" poll. He didn't actually ask the "approve/disapprove" question. He asked the "excellent/good/fair/poor" question. While excellent + good add to 9%, it seems likely that at least some of the 36% that said "fair" would say "approve" on the two part question. Certainly, congress isn't getting great ratings, but 9% is probably not a true measure. Even Rasmussen has commented that a two part question may have gotten around 25% "approve".

Anonymous said...

One trend that I've noticed is that third party candidates tend to get far more support in summer polls than they do as the election approaches, as disenchanted voters flock back to their party. It happened with Wallace, Anderson, Perot, and Nader; it will probably happen for Barr as well.

I'm guessing that Barr will win ~2-3% of the vote on election day.

Anonymous said...

It would be interesting if you could compare past Libertarian/3rd party candidate polling data in NC from June thorugh November and see if they are following the same trend.

 
Web Statistics