Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Broader Implications of NY-23

Could the Doug Hoffman candidacy in NY-23 become a broader movement next year?

We asked two forms of the generic Congressional ballot question on our national poll this week- one was the standard Democrat/Republican choice and the other was a Democrat/Republican/Independent or Third Party choice.

Reflecting the disgust many voters are feeling with both parties right now, 22% of respondents said they would choose an independent or third party candidate. Predictably 45% of independent identifying voters said they would but so did 19% of Republicans and 10% of Democrats.

The fact that twice as many GOP voters as Democrats would prefer to vote for a third way instead of their own party next year could seriously confound Republican hopes of making large gains in the House and Senate.

72% of the Republicans expressing a wish to vote for a third party candidate are conservatives and 47% of them think that Congressional Republicans are too liberal. That is the exact sentiment Hoffman is tapping into.

Just as the Republicans helped Ralph Nader get on the ballot in 2004, Democrats might do themselves a favor in some key races next year by getting someone to the right of the GOP nominee into the field. It certainly seems like it could give them a gift in NY-23.

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