Ballot Access News compares trends in alternative party and independent Presidential performance, 2004 vs. 2008

In a series of posts at Ballot Access News today, Richard Winger writes:

In 2004, Ralph Nader was on the ballot in jurisdictions containing 50.8% of the national presidential vote cast that year. In those jurisdictions, he polled .67% of the total presidential vote cast in those places.

In 2008, Nader was on the ballot in jurisdictions containing 84.4% of the national presidential vote cast that year. In those jurisdictions, he received .66% of the total presidential vote cast in those places.

His popular vote in 2008 of 738,622 is considerably better than his 2004 vote of 465,650. But, one can say that the improvement was entirely due to his more successful ballot access efforts in 2008, compared to 2004. When one controls for that, his support was virtually unchanged.

Nader’s best state in 2004 was Alaska. In 2008 his best state was Maine.

In 2004, Libertarian presidential nominee Michael Badnarik was on the ballot in states containing 98.2% of the presidential vote. In the states in which he was on the ballot, he received .330% of the total vote cast for president.

In 2008, Libertarian presidential nominee Bob Barr was on the ballot in states containing 94.8% of the presidential vote. In those states, he received .421% of the total vote cast for president.

Ron Paul was on the November 2008 ballot for president in Louisiana and Montana. Those two states only accounted for 1.9% of the national presidential vote this year. However, Paul received votes in those two states equal to .82% (of the total presidential vote in those two states). Consequently, he received the highest percentage of the vote (in the areas in which he was on the ballot) of any presidential candidate last month, other than Barack Obama and John McCain.

Whether Ron Paul was a “candidate” for president in November 2008 depends on the definition of “candidate”. He did not ask to be put on the ballot.

Alan Keyes was on the ballot last month for president in 3 states, which comprise 18.6% of the national presidential vote. In those 3 states, he received .19% of the total vote cast in those 3 states.

George Phillies, who appeared on the New Hampshire ballot with the label “Libertarian”, polled .07% of the vote cast in New Hampshire. New Hampshire only cast .5% of the national presidential vote.

Charles Jay, presidential candidate of the Boston Tea Party, polled .02% of the vote cast in the three states in which he was on the ballot. Those three states accounted for 10.2% of the national presidential vote.

Thomas Stevens, presidential candidate of the Objectivist Party, polled .01% of the vote cast in the two states in which he was on the ballot. Those two states cast 8.2% of the national presidential vote.

Other than in 2008, the only other Libertarian who ever ran for president in the general election, even though he was not the Libertarian presidential nominee, was L. Neil Smith in 2000. He appeared on the Arizona ballot with the label “Libertarian”, and polled .38% in that state.

In 2004, Green Party presidential candidate David Cobb was on the ballot in states containing 54.3% of the national presidential vote cast that year. In the places where he was on the ballot, he received .177% of the total vote cast in those places.

In 2008, Green Party presidential nominee Cynthia McKinney was on the ballot in states containing 69.7% of the national presidential vote cast that year. In the places where she was on the ballot, she received .173% of the total vote cast in those places.

Thus, the experience in these two presidential elections for the Green Party almost perfectly matches the Nader experience. In both cases, the candidate did a far better job of getting on ballots in 2008 than in 2004. But, in the areas with ballot status, the percentage of the vote received was virtually the same in both years.

In 2004, Constitution Party presidential nominee Michael Peroutka was on the ballot in states containing 66.4% of the national presidential vote. Where he was on the ballot, he polled .173% of the total presidential vote in those places.

In 2008, Constitution Party vice-presidential nominee Chuck Baldwin was on the ballot in states containing 59.0% of the national presidential vote this year. Where he was on the ballot, he polled .238% of the total presidential vote in those places.

Thus, the Libertarian Party and the Constitution Party experienced a similar pattern in these two presidential election years. Each party did a worse job of getting its presidential candidate on the ballot in 2008 than it had in 2004. But, in the places where each party’s presidential candidate was on the ballot, each party polled a markedly higher share of the vote in 2008 than it had in 2004.

In 2004, the Socialist Workers Party presidential candidate, Roger Calero, or his stand-in, James Warren, appeared on the ballot in jurisdictions containing 27.2% of the presidential vote cast that year. The party received .03% of the vote in the places in which it appeared on the ballot.

In 2008, the Socialist Workers Party had the same presidential candidate, as well as the same stand-in (the party needs a stand-in when Calero runs, since he is not eligible to be president and therefore some states won’t print his name on the ballot). The 2008 SWP ticket appeared in places that cast 24.7% of the national presidential vote. The 2008 ticket polled .02% of the vote cast in the places where it was on the ballot. The vote total, 7,561, is the second lowest presidential total in the party’s history; only 2000 was lower.

In 2004, the Socialist Party presidential nominee, Walt Brown, appeared on the ballot in states containing 20.5% of the presidential vote that year. He polled .04% in the states in which he was on the ballot.

In 2008, the Socialist Party presidential nominee, Brian Moore, appeared on the ballot in states containing 21.2% of the presidential vote. He polled .02% in the states in which he was on the ballot.

The Party for Socialism and Liberation ran a presidential candidate for the first time in 2008, Gloria La Riva. She appeared on the ballot in states containing 26.4% of the presidential vote. In those states, she polled .02% of the total presidential vote.

The articles appear at Ballot Access News as follows:

Nader Support Virtually Identical in 2004 and 2008

Libertarian Presidential Vote, 2004 and 2008 Comparison

Ron Paul 2008 General Election Presidential Vote

Alan Keyes Presidential Vote 2008

Libertarian Spin-Offs in 2008 Presidential Election

Green Presidential Vote Compared, 2004 to 2008

Constitution Party Presidential Vote Compared, 2004 to 2008

Socialist Workers Presidential Vote, 2004 Compared to 2008

Socialist Party Presidential Outcome Compared, 2004 to 2008

Party for Socialism and Liberation Presidential Showing

3 thoughts on “Ballot Access News compares trends in alternative party and independent Presidential performance, 2004 vs. 2008

  1. Jeremy Young

    Baldwin did a fantastic job given his nonexistent name recognition and considering that he had to contend with Keyes and Paul fans stealing his ballot access. The Constitution Party should be very happy with his performance.

    Barr doing somewhat better than Badnarik, on the other hand, doesn’t impress me, given that Barr was a former Congressman and Badnarik was just a random dude.

    Nader and Mckinney need to hang up the shingle. Their movements ought to re-merge behind stronger candidates. Jesse Johnson, Anthony Pollina, and Matt Gonzalez would be excellent Green Party candidates for President.

  2. Jeremy Young

    Thanks for visiting, LJ. I’m a “progressive” in the sense that Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson were progressives: big government, lots of regulation, welfare state, and foreign policy hawkishness/world government. That last point isn’t part of today’s liberal movement, which is why I use the term “progressive.” I’m not a socialist if you’re being precise, because I do believe free enterprise should have its own limited sphere. But I like socialism, so I don’t take offense to your use of the term to describe me.

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