Sunday, February 22, 2004

Nader votes going to ... taken from ...

Another e conversation with my friend. She asked about the effect of Nader in the election. Again, forgive the casual nature of the typing ...

nader. what a hoot!!! i watched his half hour with tim russert this morning. nader is an ultra-liberal. he is very much against bush and everything he stands for. he talks about corporations owning washington, and there being little if any difference between the dems and the pubs. if he stays true to his presented ideals, then he should rip the dem nominee as much as bush - but i doubt he will.

his votes will come from three pools - just like any other candidate: people voting for him that would have voted for kerry (presuming lurch gets the nomination); people that would have voted for bush (but vote for nader as a protest, since their positions have virtually no overlap); and those that will vote for him and otherwise would have stayed home.

i suggest that their is no reliable way to predict or know what percentage of nader's votes would fall into the three categories above. but it would seem that the bush protest vote will be the fewest. if the dems really get frustrated with kerry, then the voters switching from kerry may be substantial.

i just looked over some exit polls from the 2000 election and to my surprise, the nader votes do not seem to have been taken overwhelmingly from gore, as one would expect. the polls are not clear on just the issue of who they would have voted for if not for nader, so i had to interpret a bit.

nader got 2.9MM votes in 2000. here are the states and the data where nader's votes were greater than the difference in votes earned by bush and gore:

florida: 25 electoral votes; bush won by 537 votes; nader got 97,488 votes
iowa: 7 electoral votes; gore won by 4,144 votes; nader got 29,374 votes
maine: 4 electoral votes; gore won by 33,335; nader got 37,127 votes
minnesota: 10 electoral votes; gore won by 68,607 votes; nader got 126,696 votes
new hampshire: 4 electoral votes; bush won by 7,211; nader got 22,198 votes
new mexico: 5 electoral votes; gore won by 366 votes; nader got 21,251 votes
oregon: 7 electoral votes; gore won by 6,765; nader got 77,357 votes
wisconsin: 11 electoral votes; gore won by 5,708; nader got 94,070 votes.

so nader was involved in 73 electoral votes, of which 29 was won by bush. but note how close new mexico was - bush chose to respect the first count and mandatory recount, and did not play the same games as gore did in fla. wisconsin was also very close.

i expect nader will turn a couple of states. but also remember that since electoral votes have been apportioned since 2000, if W wins the same states that he won in 2000, the final count would change from bush winning by 271 to 266 to bush winning 278 to 259. this difference will only serve to help W, and compound kerry's exposure to nader (because electoral votes will be a little harder for lurch to come by).

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