Bob Barr, Ron Paul may have cost McCain a few close states

Via Jinchi:

He didn’t exactly cost John McCain the election, but if the current numbers hold, it looks like Bob Barr may have cost John McCain victories in North Carolina and Indiana.

North Carolina with 98% of precincts reporting

* Barack Obama(D) 2,098,401
* John McCain(R) 2,084,344
* Bob Barr(L) 25,031

Indiana with 98% of precincts reporting

* Barack Obama(D) 1,330,959
* John McCain(R) 1,315,916
* Bob Barr(L) 28,692

Too early to be sure, but Ron Paul may cost McCain Montana for the same reason.

However, it appears that Bob Barr’s public prediction that McCain would lose in Georgia did not pan out. In the closing days of the campaign, Barr hunkered down and concentrated his appearances, phone banking and other campaigning on the Peach state.

22 thoughts on “Bob Barr, Ron Paul may have cost McCain a few close states

  1. darren

    McCain cost McCain Indiana and North Carolina. In any case, the 26 electoral votes don’t affect the outcome.

  2. Brian Miller

    The presumption seems to be that everyone who voted for Barr was otherwise an automatic McCain voter.

    I voted for Barr, but if forced to choose between the two major party candidates, would not have voted for McCain.

  3. HumbleTravis

    only 61% of Montana has reported… it will be very interesting to see the results there. Also note the vote totals for Barr vs. Paul in MT.

  4. paulie cannoli Post author

    The presumption seems to be that everyone who voted for Barr was otherwise an automatic McCain voter.

    I voted for Barr, but if forced to choose between the two major party candidates, would not have voted for McCain.

    I don’t think the presumption is that everyone who voted for Barr would have voted for McCain, but he did angle himself heavily in that direction.

    I’ve actually hypothesized that he may have had the opposite effect, all intentions aside.

    Both in polling and endorsements (the latter at both “cosmotarian” and “paleolibertarian” sites), small l libertarians broke for Obama over McCain.

    To what extent Barr’s vote was what he aimed at – disgruntled conservative Republicans – and to what extent it was small l and big L libertarians can only be speculated at this point.

    Many Libertarians said they would not vote for Barr, yet he made up for those numbers. So I suspect he may have cost McCain a state or two – not exactly a huge achievement, but he has to hang his black cowboy hat on something.

  5. Brian Miller

    Both in polling and endorsements (the latter at both “cosmotarian” and “paleolibertarian” sites), small l libertarians broke for Obama over McCain.

    Precisely my point. On civil liberties and arguably the war, Obama is preferable to McCain (though far from perfect).

    The fact that McCain was as economically collectivist as Obama (if not moreso) also didn’t help McCain’s appeal with confused small-l libs.

    Many Libertarians said they would not vote for Barr, yet he made up for those numbers.

    I suspect many were like me — ambivalent up to the moment we got to the ballot box.

    Those annoyed LPers certainly didn’t appear to vote for the BTP or “NOTA” in large numbers. It looks like the LP base stuck with Barr (holding their noses), but Barr didn’t grow his vote significantly beyond the LP base.

    I suspect he may have cost McCain a state or two – not exactly a huge achievement

    If he had cost McCain a state, that actually would be significant, but the problem is that even if he did — and I doubt he did — if it wasn’t a libertarian principle that drove voters to Barr, the “costing a state” is meaningless to Libertarian voters.

  6. Michael Seebeck

    Was tracking IN because my folks live there, and I know the NW area inside out.

    Barr did not cost McCain Indiana. Lake County had a late tally surge (as Gary always does!) and it was 70%+ for Obama, and those raw numbers put him over the top. Porter and LaPorte Counties were similar, primarily because their polls closed an hour later than the rest of the state from the time zone differences.

  7. MrZach

    There is a major flaw in this theory. If you look at the libertarian vote in the senate and governor races in N.C. you’ll see that the difference between the 120,000 and 130,000 of voters who voted LP in those races but did not in the presidential race is almost evenly split between Obama and McCain.

    Furthermore, this “stolen election” theory rests entirely on the assumption that a Republican or Democrat will receive the vote of everyone who votes by default, and the presence of a third party candidate merely shifts the vote away from a Republican or Democratic candidate. This may have been true for the 105,000 people who voted libertarian in the N.C. governor’s race but not libertarian in the presidential race – but for the remaining 25,000 in N.C. and the 28,692 in Indiana – one must assume that (1) every single one of those people would have voted if the LP candidate was not in the race, and (2) every single one of those people would have chosen McCain when they voted.

    Both of these assumptions are unsupported, and the evidence on the matter is to the contradiction of these assumptions – not the affirmation.

  8. paulie cannoli Post author

    NC

    Barack Obama, Dem 50%
    2,101,986
    John McCain, GOP 50%
    2,089,826
    Bob Barr, Lib 1%
    25,181

    This does not require every one of these voters to have voted at all, or voted for McCain otherwise. Only a fairly slight majority.

    The case in Indiana is harder to make:

    Barack
    Obama Dem
    50%
    1,352,356
    John McCain, GOP 49%
    1,329,370
    Bob Barr, Lib 1%
    28,980

    Montana apparently is going for McCain after all, and by a wider margin than all independents put together.

    So NC is the state where the LP is likeliest to have helped Obama, if anywhere at all. It also retained ballot status for the first time ever, so they won’t have to collect 100,000+ signatures all over again. That’s huge.

  9. George Phillies

    Barr appears in a fair number of states simply to have picked up the Libertarian base vote. I don’t think he managed to drive more than some of the left Libertarians away, but there seems to be very little sign that contrary to past experience with available polling data he selectively gained voted from people who would otherwise have voted R rather than D.

  10. George Phillies

    ” Barack Obama 2,101,986
    John McCain 2,089,826
    Bob Barr 25,181″
    To be consequential, Barr would have had to draw twelve thousand + more R than D votes, meanning that his supporters would have preferred R to D by something like 18500-6500. This distribution seems unlikely.

  11. paulie cannoli Post author

    Barr appears in a fair number of states simply to have picked up the Libertarian base vote. I don’t think he managed to drive more than some of the left Libertarians away, but there seems to be very little sign that contrary to past experience with available polling data he selectively gained voted from people who would otherwise have voted R rather than D.

    I don’t think the people Barr drove away can all be categorized as left-libertarian. A lot of them voted for Baldwin or Ron Paul, or did not vote.

  12. libertyforone

    Barr and Paul are non-statists. McCain is a statist. I don’t know any non-statists that would ever vote for a statist.

    You might as well say that Obama cost McCain a few states because people voted for him.

    I wish you people would get this. The votes for Ron Paul and Barr are votes that say WE HATE THE WAY THINGS ARE. WE DON’T WANT THE GOVERNMENT INTERFERING IN OUR LIVES. They are not, gee, I guess I will vote for Barr instead of McCain.

    If you bothered to do any research at all, you would know that a lot of democrats who learned about Paul switched parties to vote for him.

    They took the red pill (or was it blue?) and will never look back. They now see that the government is the problem and more government is a bigger problem. We don’t want more regulation. Government edicts got us into the biggest economic mess in history. A free market never would have let this happen.

    But instead, no one understands. They think that de-regulation caused the government to force Freddie and Fannie to make unsound loans. They think de-regulation handed out near monopoly power to ratings agencies that were in bed with the companies they were rating. They think de-regulation flooded the country with inflated dollars and lowered interest rates to a ridiculous rate. And they think that anyone who voted for Ron Paul would have voted for McCain if he was the only name on the ticket.

    The only thing that Ron Paul and Bob Barr did was to get a few more folks to the polls who would otherwise have stayed home!

  13. paulie cannoli Post author

    That’s certainly the case for some of Barr’s voters, but not all of them.

    Some of them would in fact have voted if McCain and Obama were the only candidates on the ballot. The Barr campaign worked on the common assumption that of those, most would have gone for McCain. What little research I’ve seen that actually attempts to answer this question shows otherwise.

  14. JimDavidson

    In Montana, one could say that the votes for Ron Paul, Ralph Nader, and Bob Barr cost Obama the state, since they total significantly more than the difference (and since McCain won the state). But, I agree with libertyforone, these are voters who wanted to cast a vote against the established order.

    Now with 100% precincts in, Montana:
    http://sos.mt.gov/ELB/elections/2008/general/statewideraces/President/index.asp
    Paul: 10,499
    Obama: 229,700
    Nader: 3,656
    Barr: 1,341
    McCain: 241,836

    I think you can make the argument that the anti-war vote was 15,496 and the libertarian vote was 11,840. Given that in rural states, something like 75% of registered voters actually vote, and in many counties registration penetrates to 65% or more of the population, I would guess there are something like 24,000 people in Montana who would be interested in libertarian ideas.

    My guess is the LP membership in Montana is more like the 1300 that voted Barr. But I don’t have current figures on this box.

  15. JimDavidson

    Louisiana is also all in.
    780,981 39.89% Democratic Party, Barack Obama, Joe Biden –
    9,184 .47% Green Party, Cynthia McKinney,Rosa Clemente –
    1,147,603 58.61% Republican Party, John McCain, Sarah Palin –
    2,579 .13% Constitution Party, Chuck Baldwin, Darrell Castle –
    6,991 .36% Independent, Ralph Nader, Matt Gonzalez –
    9,353 .48% Louisiana Taxpayers Party, “Ron” Paul,Barry Goldwater,Jr. –
    275 .01% Prohibition, Gene Amondson, Leroy Pletten –
    354 .02% Socialism and Liberation, Gloria La Riva, Eugene Puryear –
    739 .04% Socialist Workers Party, James Harris, Alyson Kennedy

    from: http://www400.sos.louisiana.gov:8090/cgibin/?rqstyp=elcms2&rqsdta=110408

    Recall Barr did not get on the ballot there due to late paperwork. Some sort of hurricane snafu. For Senate, the Libertarian polled over 18,500 votes, nearly 1%.

    Again, the state went for McCain, but in a big enough way that the minor party candidates did not “screw it up for Obama” since having all their votes would not have been enough.

    The Senate race reveals 18,500 plus voters for an LP candidate, but there were far fewer voters for identifiably libertarian (in concept if not in practice) candidates for president. Half that number for Ron Paul, plus a few for Baldwin.

    Again, it looks like there are 36,000 or so people with libertarian values in Louisiana. I’m guessing far fewer are involved in the LP.

    I mention this point because the Boston Tea Party is continuing to recruit.

  16. paulie cannoli Post author

    My guess is the LP membership in Montana is more like the 1300 that voted Barr.

    It’s very unlikely to be anywhere near that high. You can count the state LPs that have over a thousand members on the fingers of one hand.

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