Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Buckley Effect

The reason there's a runoff for the US Senate in Georgia is that Libertarian candidate Allen Buckley pulled around 3.5% of the vote, holding Saxby Chambliss below 50%.

The winner of the runoff will have a lot more to do with grassroots mobilization and who can get his voters out to the polls than it will with where Buckley's voters go. But it's still worth looking at where those who supported Buckley's loyalties may lie.

On our final pre election poll in Georgia we found that:

-36% of Buckley's supporters were for John McCain, 32% were for Barack Obama, and 30% were supporting the Libertarian 'ticket' and also supporting Bob Barr.

-32% were Republicans, 20% were Democrats, and 48% didn't identify with either party.

-They were a very young group of voters. 30% were under 30, compared to 17% in the overall population. Only 40% were over the age of 45, compared to 54% in the population at large.

What does that all add up to? Chambliss might have the slightest of advantages with those who supported Buckley but it's basically a wash.


Anonymous said...

Turnout looks bad for Martin after the first day of voting.

African-American turnout was only 22% of the electorate...

Anonymous said...


I'd like to know if you are planning a GA Run-Off poll ?


Tom Jensen said...

Yes we will have polls each of the next two Mondays.

James Bell said...

It’s not whom but why?
In Jim Tharpe’s recent report on “How will Libertarians affect Georgia runoff?” (Saturday, November 15, 2008), Tharpe raises the issue of the libertarian vote and whom we will be supporting in the Senate race.
As Libertarian candidate Allen Buckley attempts to bring the major party candidates to the table, the real question is not for whom we will vote for, but why would a libertarian vote for either candidate?
I am confident that the Libertarian Party (LP) will become a major force in American politics. The fact that the LP has never had a statewide victory in Georgia seems disappointing until you look at the history of the other 2 political parties.
It took the GOP more than 100 years to elect a statewide candidate in Georgia. In 1992 Bobby Baker became the first Republican elected to a statewide constitutional office since Reconstruction.
Sonny Perdue was the first Republican governor elected since Benjamin Conley served during Reconstruction in the 1870s. You would think after more than100 years of failed elections the GOP would have just given up. Likewise, the Libertarian Party and its supporters are persistent; we’re in for the long haul. We are not a “Reform Party” or flash in the pan. The LP is based on principles not platitudes.
The Libertarian Party is a young party, established in 1972. Since then the LP has made political gains by jumping many of the legal hurdles set up to keep “third parties” from progressing. One major hurdle cleared was attaining statewide ballot access which has been maintained since the1980s. If the playing field was level, the LP would certainly become a major political party.
It may take the Libertarian Party 100 years to reach our goals, but we will never give up and we will never abandon the principles that make our political party and our nation unique.
We saw a glimpse of the future on November 4th in the PSC race when LP candidate John Monds, an African American, received more than 1 million (33%) votes in a 2 way race against a GOP incumbent. This was a historic event for the LP.
Ok, back to the senate runoff. Neither candidate has given the more than 100,000 libertarian voters a reason to vote for them.
Saxby Chambliss, the “conservative”, has failed as a fiscal conservative. He has voted against the free markets and is proud of his corporate welfare programs called “farm subsidies”. Why should libertarians support a senator who will pay farmers not to grow crops? Why should libertarians support a senator who has supported a misguided war in Iraq? Why should we support a senator who has voted to give robber barons billions of dollars in borrowed bailout cash?
On the other hand, Jim Martin, the “liberal”, seems unable to throw libertarians a bone by supporting any of the drug policy reform bills pending in Congress. One bill, sponsored by Barney Frank (D) and Ron Paul (R), an unlikely couple, would prohibit federal intervention in state medical marijuana issues. Drug policy reform has been a major plank for the Libertarian Party. It is deemed an issue of privacy rights and “State’s Powers” or as we like to say in Georgia, “State’s Rights”.
When was the last time either candidate even mentioned the Constitution and the protection of the Bill of Rights? How about less government and more personal freedom?
When libertarians look at the two senate candidate we see Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dumb. There is little difference in either political parties or candidates. Saxby’s assertion that libertarians have “more in common with us”, the GOP, is an insult. The GOP has burned its libertarian bridges by rejecting Ron Paul and his supporters. The Ron Paul vote alone is enough to win any race. Why pander to us now?
Neal Boortz and the “Fair Tax” is not really an issue with libertarians. Many libertarians find the issue interesting and debatable but view tax collection as stealing from our left pocket or our right pocket. Until the issue of cutting spending, waste and debt is addressed, how taxes are collected is nothing but a side show. Boortz has a knack for undermining the Libertarian Party. His Republican roots seem too deep.
So how will libertarians vote in the up coming senate race? My guess is many will not vote at all. We are tired of voting for Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dumb.
We have nothing in common with either candidate.
James Bell, 49, is Communications Director for the Libertarian Party of Georgia and long time activist for drug policy and tax reform.

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