Barr surpasses Badnarik and Browne totals…

Former Congressman and Libertarian Presidential nominee Bob Barr has surpassed the last two Libertarian tickets in terms of national vote total. With just about 72% of the national vote counted, the media is reporting that Barr has now polled just under 400,000 votes.

Here is where Barr places, so far, in the context of some of the more recent and successful Libertarian Presidential nominees…

Ed Clark (1980) – 920,000
Harry Browne (1996) – 485,000
Ron Paul (1988) – 431,000
Bob Barr (2008) – 400,000
Michael Badnarik (2004) – 397,000
Harry Browne (2000) – 384,000
Andre Marrou (1992) – 290,000

Odds are extremely high that Barr will surpass Ron Paul and Harry Browne’s 1996 totals. And 500,000 votes seems entirely possible, for only the second time in the Libertarian Party’s history. However, at this point in time, the dream of 1 million votes appears to be delayed until 2012.

52 thoughts on “Barr surpasses Badnarik and Browne totals…

  1. paulie cannoli

    High turnout elections tend to do that. Right now he is 0.4% to Badnarik’s 0.3, Browne 2000 0.4%, Browne 96 was higher at 0.5%. Ron Paul in ’88 did better percentagewise as well, I believe.

  2. Hugh Jass

    The problem is that the Reform Caucus is going to take this otherwise pathetic showing and twist it to show that nominating a moderate gave us marginally better results than nomination a purist.

  3. Brian Miller

    Yep. Percentages are what matter as a total measure of support, as Paulie notes.

    A “marginal increase” is not statistically significant when held against the vote totals. There’s no doubt the Reform Caucus agenda failed — a plumb-line Libertarian would have received a similar vote total with a typical campaign and none of the Reform “compromises.”

    The flood of hundreds of thousands of new supporters (and the $40 million to $50 million the candidates themselves claimed they’d raise at the convention) never came.

    Which begs the question of what the Reform agenda accomplishes versus returning to the role as a political party that advocates positions and introduces them to the mainstream debate.

  4. johncjackson

    I think my % predictions for the top 5 candidates are all going to be fairly close.

    And as far as 2012. Dont worry, WAR will get us over the million mark! Especially when he gets Obama to show his transcripts.

  5. Brian Miller

    And as far as 2012. Dont worry, WAR will get us over the million mark! Especially when he gets Obama to show his transcripts.


    Hey, reasonable people can disagree on measures of success, you know…

  6. rdupuy

    I’m going to take this result and say, that we did better with Bob Barr than we could have done with any of the other choices…absolutely.

    I also want to eject from the party anyone that doesn’t rally behind the nominee. We don’t need any more George Phillies in the party. The net effect of ppl like that, is to cause harm.

    I supported Badnarik, Browne, Ron Paul, Marrou, etc.

    And if I’m still a libertarian in 2012, and I expect I will be, I will support our nominee, because that is the social contract you make, when you join a political party….to band together with like minded ppl, and support the nominee.

    I hope Bob Barr runs again. He should raise $3 million or more. He should respond to all swiftboating, in politics you do not ignore your competition. He should run a smaller campaign withe realistic goals… frankly I think he would do all those things, and be the better candidate for this years experiences.

  7. johncjackson

    I am looking at the FoX News site, since it shows the top 5 candidates and their % right under the map.

    it is showing
    Obama 51.31%, McCain 47.46%, Nader 0.5, Barr 0.4, Baldwin 0.14%

    I predicted ( posted in the thread a couple days ago)
    Obama 51.46%, McCain 47.31%, Nader 0.54, Barr 0.42, Baldwin 0.14%

    Not bad huh?

  8. Brian Miller

    I also want to eject from the party anyone that doesn’t rally behind the nominee.

    Good luck with that.

    Considering these quite poor electoral returns (especially considering the internal ravages the Barr adherents caused to get the brass ring), associated significant declines in LNC fundraising, and backfiring of the efforts to railroad Angela Keaton off the LNC, I doubt there’s going to be much of a stomach for further “purges.”

  9. paulie cannoli

    I doubt there’s going to be much of a stomach for further “purges.”

    0.4% for Barr might result in some backlash against those elements of the party which backed him for the nomination. There may be changes coming in 2010. We’ll see.

  10. sunshinebatman

    If nothing else, the Barr nomination a useful exercise in exposing just how powerful the TPTB are as far as PR / brianwashing /etc. On the merits Barr is far more qualified a a legislator, lawyer, scholar, (prosecutor, analyst, etc.) than anyone else.

    It was one of the major parties which nominated a joke of a candidate, an even bigger joke than Bush, with absolutely no resume’. . .

    Obama is basically a second-rate anti-American Badnarik with a tan, but with the political correctness / institutional backing / media machine he walked in with no problem.

    It’s pathetic, really. And a stark example of what we’re up against. Maybe in a smal way this election will help a few more people get it.

  11. johncjackson

    I was a little off on my Electoral vote prediction. At this point I was off by 1 state. I am in Ohio and expected McCain to pull it off.

    If McCain wins the 4 remaining states that he is supposed to win, then I will be off by just Ohio. But they could go either way.

  12. Steve LaBianca

    I know that many will think that this is splitting hairs, but I would like to see comparisons going out to the hundreth decimal place. For example, I think Badnarik’s % was 0.33%, while Bergland’s was slightly less than 0.30%. I know Harry Browne received 485,000 votes in ’96, but I don’t know what the total vote was.

    By extrapolation, it appears that Barr will get 530,000 to 550,000 votes. Even my “low” prediction of 700,000 earlier today was way too high. At some point right after the “financial crisis” broke, I thought that if Barr handled it wrong, he might get less than 600,000. It appears that even 600,000 was too high as well.

    What can be determined from the Barr campaign, likely to get 540,000 votes (a smidgen less than 0.4%) is one which I am sure will be debated over the next weeks and months. However, my take is to say that the LP ought to realize that, for the time being at least, the focus should be on promoting fully consistent, unapologetic libertarianism and not some mild version or non-libertarian campaign. Any of the other LP candidates vying for the nomination could probably have received a vote total not all that much different from Barr. Was the media exposure, a supposed advantage that Barr brought an advantage at all? Was the “former congressman” aspect an advantage?

    I think the answer is a resounding NO, there was no advantage.

  13. BrianHoltz

    What we’re seeing in America is that identity politics exacerbates the wasted vote syndrome. Americans aren’t voting for merely the lesser of two evils. Instead, they’re voting for the most effective opponent of what they consider the Pure Evil candidate.

    I too favor unapologetic libertarianism — and I don’t apologize that libertarianism isn’t a synonym for anarchism.

  14. Thomas M. Sipos

    rdupuy: “I also want to eject from the party anyone that doesn’t rally behind the nominee.”

    And this will be accomplished by you and what army?

    johncjackson: “as far as 2012. Dont worry, WAR will get us over the million mark! Especially when he gets Obama to show his transcripts.”

    But Root promised us two million votes minimum in 2008.

  15. Thomas M. Sipos

    Brian Holtz: “I too favor unapologetic libertarianism — and I don’t apologize that libertarianism isn’t a synonym for anarchism.”

    Whoever asked you to apologize? Whoever said libertarianism was identical to anarchism?

    I’m a radical and a minarchist. I think most radicals are minarchists. You’re fighting straw men.

    My problem is with faux minarchists who want to grow government by supporting an overseas empire. You can’t be a minarchist and support empire.

  16. libertyforone

    Gee, so Barr did better than two candidates who no one had ever heard of?

    Does anyone remember that this lunatic, Barr, was suggesting that he would get 20 MILLION votes?

    Here is his VP speaking:

    Q: It seems the Libertarian Party in years past did not support incrementally enacting its agenda.

    A: And that’s why they got 300,000 votes, and now we have a chance to get 10 million votes, 20 million votes. … Again, we’re an underdog, but there’s an outside shot at winning this election.

    Now all of sudden people are thrilled that in a year when we had the most television coverage in history, he does marginally better? Ooh, 400k instead of 300k. That is really going to make a huge dent. He doesn’t even register as a whole percent.

    The libs made the biggest mistake of a lifetime going with this Republican. I didn’t vote for him and I will leave the party completely and hope they don’t get certified if they keep this up.

    So to all you who want to throw me out of the party for not supporting your right wing republican candidate – fine. But in my state, libertarians need a certain number of registered voters to even get on the ballot. A lot of us left and if you put up Barr again, more will too.

    Typical beltway lib – cut off your nose to spite your face. Yeah, spit at Ron Paul, print awful things about him, ridicule him, and then put up a Patriot Act supporter as your man.

    Just brilliant strategy.

    If you all like republicans so much, there is a party that is basically empty right now that would be happy to have you.

    Such a waste. We could have really changed thought in America this year. Instead, greed changed the party. So, how are those 20 million votes tasting?


  17. paulie cannoli

    Gee, so Barr did better than two candidates who no one had ever heard of?

    No, Browne got 0.50% in 1996, Barr got 0.40% in 2008, Ron Paul got 0.47% in 1988.

  18. JimDavidson

    Yes, he might be the second most vote getting, but that doesn’t make his percentage any better. A great many more people voted this year than before. So, normalising for vote totals, you look at the percentages. And he’s not done as well as supposedly hard-line purist Harry Browne did in 1996. Barr ran a marginal campaign with limited funds, did little to divert funds from his PAC to other LP candidates, and was generally not interested in the success of the party.

    The LP could do many things to help the Boston Tea Party. Few of them would be as glorious as following rdupuy’s suggestion above, “I also want to eject from the party anyone that doesn’t rally behind the nominee.” Please, please, throw me in the briar patch!

  19. JimDavidson

    Oh, and the social contract argument is fatuous. There is no contract. No one agrees to support, carte blanche, sight unseen, whoever wins the nomination. In politics, people support who they think best.

  20. JimDavidson

    sunshinebateman at 15 – So, people with swarthy complexions have tans? As if it were his choice what color skin he has? Which would then make it okay for you to discriminate against him because he chose to tan himself? What kind of a racist are you?

  21. BrianHoltz

    Thomas, if you don’t know what LaBianca means by “unapologetic libertarianism”, why don’t you ask him? IIRC, he tells us that the mere existence of the state is an abomination against the principles of libertarianism. Indeed, there are plenty of LP radicals who say that libertarianism — and the Libertarian Platform — must include the right of personal secession. None of these radicals are made of any visible straw (I haven’t checked them with an otoscope), and some of them (e.g. Less Antman) are intelligent/honest enough to admit that personal secession (added to the Platform in the mid-1980s after the Cato minarchists were hounded out of the LP, and included in the Restore04 minority report) is equivalent to anarchism.

    You just broke my irony meter by proceeding from your “straw man” charge to talk in your next paragraph about “faux minarchists who want to grow government by supporting an overseas empire”. What self-described minarchist can you quote saying he “supports an overseas empire”? Congratulations, this is both a straw man and a red herring. Throw in an ad hominem and you’ll score a hat trick. 🙂

  22. sunshinebatman

    Jim Dave #32, what are you babbling about?

    Since you seem so interested, though, yes, you should check some of the beach pics of Obama where it is clear much of his complexion is due to “farmer’s tan,” if you will, indicating again the paternity of Chicago Communist Frank Marshall Davis, not dead Kenyan Barack Sr. Hope this helps.

    (PS. Did you quit because the LP nominated a black guy for President this year?)

  23. JimDavidson

    Did I quit the LP this year? No, I quit the LP in 1998. Do try to keep up.

    I really don’t understand your fixation on genetics. Yes, I think you are a racist. See if you can persuade me that you aren’t.

  24. TheOriginalAndy

    “libertyforone // Nov 5, 2008 at 7:25 pm

    Gee, so Barr did better than two candidates who no one had ever heard of? ”

    No, Barr did WORSE than Harry Browne did in 1996, and keep in mind that Harry Browne was not as well known as Barr and that Harry Browne had to compete against two more well known “third party” candidates in Ross Perot and Ralph Nader.

    So much for the Barristas talk about how Barr was going to bring in 3-5 million votes. LOL!

    Barr ran on a watered down Libertarian platform as compared to the more hardcore Libertarian Harry Browne, and Harry Browne still beat him. LOL!

  25. sunshinebatman

    Jim Dave, why are you so obsessed with race? I find it rather distatsteful. There was another racist commenter on here yesterday attacking Keyes.

  26. paulie cannoli

    which makes him the second best vote-getter, after Ed Clark.

    Still 4th in percentage, which is the more relevant figure, behind Ron Paul (1988) and Harry Browne (1996).

  27. TheOriginalAndy

    “George Dance // Nov 5, 2008 at 9:59 pm

    As we speak, Barr’s vote total has crept up to 489,661 (with 98% of polls reporting), per

    which makes him the second best vote-getter, after Ed Clark.”

    Population and voter turn out has increased since 1996, so by this standard, Hary Browne beat Bob Barr.

  28. paulie cannoli

    by David F. Nolan
    Wednesday, November 5, 2008

    Those of us who were hoping for a big upturn in the vote for third-party Presidential candidates this year were sorely disappointed. In a column posted here two days ago, I expressed the hope and expectation that Bob Barr would get two to three times as many votes as Michael Badnarik received in 2004. The reality was far different. As I write this, about 121.6 million votes have been tallied, with Barr getting 488,449 or 0.40%. Ralph Nader did about 35% better, with 655,847. As additional votes are logged, everyone’s totals should rise by as much as 10%.

    No national totals are available so far for Chuck Baldwin and Cynthia McKinney, but based on very sketchy data it appears that Baldwin may have received 200,000 to 250,000 votes, while McKinney received less than 200,000.

    In my last column, posted two days ago, I suggested that one fair measure of the alternative candidates’ performance would be how much their vote totals increased vs. their performance (or their party’s performance) in 2004. Using this measure, Nader is up about 40% so far and Barr has surpassed Badnarik by about 23%. (These figures will rise as additional votes are reported.) Baldwin may have beaten the 2004 CP total of 143,860 by as much as 75%, almost entirely due to Ron Paul’s endorsement.

    None of these numbers give any of the candidates or their supporters much reason to rejoice. If anything, they demonstrate, once again, that relatively unknown and hugely underfunded third-party candidates cannot realistically compete at the Presidential level.

    Barr’s showing of 0.40% puts his results right in line with other Libertarian Presidential campaigns. In 1988, Ron Paul received 0.47% of the popular vote total. In 1992, Andre Marrou got 0.28%. In 1996, Harry Browne got 0.50%, and in 2000 he got 0.36%. In 2004, Michael Badnarik received 0.32%. The average percentage for the last five elections was thus 0.39% — almost exactly what Barr got this time. The argument that by going “mainstream” the LP could improve its results by a factor of ten or more proved to be completely false. The Libertarian ticket would most likely have gotten a very similar vote total with Root, Ruwart or Kubby as the nominee.

    Barr’s best showing was in Indiana, where he received more than 1% of the vote, and narrowly beat the spread between Obama and McCain. Barr was the only “alternative” choice on the ballot in that state. His next-best showing was in his home state of Georgia, where he received about 0.75%. Third-best: Texas, with 0.70%. In both Georgia and Texas, as in Indiana, Barr was the only alternative to Obama and McCain. Other states where Barr broke 0.50% include Wyoming, North Carolina, Arizona and Kansas. It appears that the only state where both Barr and Nader were listed on the ballot and Barr beat Nader was Arizona.

    Ron Paul’s name appeared on the ballot in two states: Montana and Louisiana. He received about 2.1% in Montana and about 0.5% in Louisiana. In several states, his endorsed choice for President, Chuck Baldwin, did better than Barr. These included ultra-conservative Utah (1.25%), along with Idaho (0.7%), South Dakota (0.5%), Nebraska (0.4%) and, oddly, liberal Oregon (0.4%). Quite probably, Paul’s endorsement boosted Baldwin’s showing in these and other states, but the total “Paul effect” was apparently less than 50,000 votes nationwide.

    (Please note: All of the above figures and percentages are based on incomplete data. As many as 12 million votes have not yet been reported, with 5 million or more uncounted in California alone. So if some of these numbers later prove to be slightly off, bear that in mind!)

  29. George Dance

    [Barr is] Still 4th in percentage, which is the more relevant figure, behind Ron Paul (1988) and Harry Browne (1996).

    Yes, I read that in your other threads; and I explained there why that’s misleading. Those were the two years of lowest-ever turnout for a presidential election. In 1996 it fell to 50.1%, and in 1988 it was below 50% for the first and only time. Of course that makes all the third-part y percentages higher than normal for those years.

  30. paulie cannoli

    If you can figure out a way of calculating the percentage of registered and/or eligible voters each of them got each year – US citizens of age, not disqualified by state law for crimes or mental incompetence – you may have half a point. More research than I want to do, though.

  31. libertyforone

    I agree that percentages are more important.

    I hope the LP learns from this disaster. They put up a faker who promised to get them 20 million votes and did no better than any other year. Despite the fact that this year, thanks to Ron Paul, they could have.

    We may never have a chance like this again: a chance to make a difference and be taken seriously. The LP makes me sick. They sold their soul and their message for what? Nothing. They got nothing.

    Worse, I now have a step-father who is throwing Barr’s very neo-con positions in my face and he now thinks that is what a libertarian is. Just when I was starting to make headway.

    Bob Barr underperformed by at least twenty times what he stated. I sure hope they learn. I know a ton of libertarians in a lot of groups who all refused to vote for Barr. In fact, I don’t know one person who did vote for him. How bad do you have to be to have libertarians not vote for you?

    We are not sheep. We vote for the person and not the party. Principles matter. I hope the party learned. Because this showing is dismal for this year considering how much exposure the LP got. Barr got much more coverage than any of the other candidates and we can’t even count how much Internet exposure was worth. He should have blown the other guys off the page in comparison. Instead, he couldn’t even do as well. Pathetic.

    “We could a been a contender.”

    sniff sniff

  32. paulie cannoli

    Without checking, I’m going to guess that McCain 08 got more votes than Bush 88, 00 or 04 did. It doesn’t mean he’ll be moving into the white house, though. Percentages are more important than raw numbers.

    Turning out your voters is just as much the job of the Libertarian candidate as the other parties’ candidates. If they can inspire 60% of their likely voters to show up to vote and the Libertarian candidate inspires 50% of Libertarians to do something else on election day, yes, that matters.

    If a Libertarian had been elected to Congress, it would have been with less votes than Barr received for president. Yet, it would have been a bigger deal. Elections are all about percentages. Raw votes are much less important.

  33. George Dance

    If you can figure out a way of calculating the percentage of registered and/or eligible voters each of them got each year – US citizens of age, not disqualified by state law for crimes or mental incompetence – you may have half a point. More research than I want to do, though.

    It’s all a matter of finding the right web page. I used:

    Based on those figures, and Barr’s latest (511,893), your ranking still holds, but the percentage differences between Browne, Paul, and Barr drop from 0.1% to 0.01%.

    1. Clark – .55%
    2. Browne 96 – .24%
    3. Paul – .23%
    4. Barr – .22%
    5. Browne 00 – .18%
    6. Badnarik – .179%

  34. paulie cannoli

    Working on this now. However, I don’t see where your link has a turnout percentage for this election. This analysis might be more easily performed after all the votes finish being tallied.

  35. paulie cannoli

    Here’s where I left off my draft before I realized the 2008 and 2004 turnout were not calculated the same way:

    This grew out of an earlier post, 3rd through 6th place, Presidential popular vote by percentage, 1992 to present.

    One or more of our readers have complained that percentages are not a purely correct way to measure the performance of independent candidates and smaller parties. The reasoning goes something like this: suppose a smaller party has a million supporters, and a larger party has a hundred million supporters. The smaller party might already be turning out a much higher percentage of its supporters than the larger party. Thus, if the larger party boosts its turnout – say from 50% to 60% – the smaller party cannot even in theory boost its turnout enough to keep from slipping in terms of percentage of the overall vote.

    However, a response to this argument is that pure popular vote numbers is also a skewed way to measure a party’s performance from one election to the next. The population of the US is growing. The average age of Americans is getting older, meaning that there are more eligible voters. Also, the motor voter act and expanded voter registration programs have contributed to the expansion of the electorate.

    Thus, the present post will multiply the percentages of the popular vote from the original post by the turnout data for each year, taken from wikipedia. Caveat: the votes have continued to be counted since the original post, thus the 2008 percentages are off slightly. Also, wikipedia does not have the 2008 voter turnout finalized. This article gives an estimate of 60.7%-61.7% turnout this year. I will estimate it at 61% for the purpose of this post.

    Nader 0.52% Independent * .61 = 0.32%
    Barr 0.40% Libertarian * .61 = 0.24%
    Baldwin 0.14% Constitution * .61 = 0.09%
    McKinney 0.11% Green * .61 = 0.07%

    Nader 0.38% Independent *.567 = 0.22%
    Badnarik 0.32% Libertarian *.567 = 0.18%
    Peroutka 0.12% Constitution *.567 = 0.07%
    Cobb 0.10% Green *.567 = 0.06%

    Nader 2.73% Green *.513 =
    Buchanan 0.43% Reform
    Browne 0.36% Libertarian
    Phillips 0.11% Constitution

    Perot 8.40% Reform
    Nader 0.71% Green
    Browne 0.50% Libertarian
    Phillips 0.19% Constitution

    Perot 18.91% Independent
    Marrou 0.28% Libertarian
    Gritz 0.10% Populist
    Fulani 0.07% New Alliance
    [Phillips 0.04%] 7th place, including him since the CP is still active

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