Libertarian Party is the only nationally-organized party to get more votes in 2014 than 2010

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Via Richard Winger at Ballot Access News: http://www.ballot-access.org/2014/12/libertarian-candidates-for-office-at-top-of-ticket-polled-approximately-1475000-votes-last-month/

The Libertarian Party had candidates for the office at the top of the ballot in 35 states, plus D.C., last month. The 36 candidates appear to have polled approximately 1,475,000 votes. The exact number can’t be known until December 15, when New York releases its official election returns. By comparison, in 2010 the Libertarian Party top-of-the ballot nominees polled 1,015,009. The increase in the Libertarian vote was 44.8%.

The Republican Party vote decreased for the top-of-the-ballot offices from 43,507,666 to 40,851,521, a decrease of 6.1%.

The Democratic vote decreased from 41,043,721 to 36,759,972, a decrease of 10.4%.

The Green Party vote decreased from 508,041 to 405,621, a decrease of 20.2%. The main reason for the Green Party change was that it had a candidate for Governor of California in 2010 who polled 129,231 votes, but in 2014 no such candidacy was permitted.

16 thoughts on “Libertarian Party is the only nationally-organized party to get more votes in 2014 than 2010

  1. Andy Craig Post author

    If we’d been on the ballot in Ohio and California and one or two other states where we had candidates who weren’t ballot-listed, we probably could have got that up over the 2 million that Richard had projected. Still not a bad showing.

  2. Andy Craig Post author

    Though of the 10 million people who voted D/R in 2010 but not 2014, only about half a million switched to voting for the LP. That’s open to multiple interpretations, and not necessarily a bad percentage, but also shows that the rise of independents and those who refuse to vote D/R, doesn’t automatically translate into Libertarian or other third-party votes.

  3. Paulie

    Especially when you consider the Republican effort to suppress our showing -not just by keeping us off the ballot and out of debates, but by stepping up their “wasted vote/spoiler/fake libertarian” propaganda lie squad where we did make the ballot, having Rand Paul shill for them and specifically against us on robocalls and media ads, and so on.

    It’s also interesting that the Constitution Party no longer even rates a mention 🙂

  4. Paulie

    5:06 was in reply to 4:55.

    In reply to 5:02 :

    It does translate into more LP votes, and we got more, but it also translates into an increase in non-voters.

    And ironically giving RandAPauling’s role in shilling for the NSGOP establishment and against the libertarian/independent opposition, it will also translate into more support for his faction within Republican primaries — but, I predict, not enough to get them into the general election as far as the presidency goes, nor to give them control of their caucus in Congress much less Congress as a whole. At least not by 2016, unless things move much more rapidly than I expect.

  5. Seymour_Results

    I wonder how it correlates to a possible simultaneous increase in masturbation? So, the boobie-prize is total number of votes? Great, then we should encourage idiotic delusional people to run for giant offices they cannot win. We’ll certainly get “more votes overall,” even though those votes will be totally incapable of reaching a winning majority.

  6. Andy Craig Post author

    I could have done a post about “758 out of 776 (or whatever the figures are) Libertarians didn’t win their election.” but that wouldn’t make for a very interesting discussion.

    While I understand the point you’re presumably making about focusing on lower offices (which is a very thoroughly debated idea), the fact is the party can’t put candidates on the ballot for those offices in most states unless we meet the vote test for statewide and higher offices. So without Bob getting his 3% for Governor, you can’t have Jim running for a winnable race for Smallville Planning Commission, at least not as a Libertarian. And demanding more votes so we can win elections, while dismissing the fact that the party did see an almost 50% increase in vote totals, seems a little contradictory.

    @Paulie- Good point, but it’s a common refrain that the way for us to get to the magic winning 34% or 50% is to get large numbers of apathetic non-voters to show up, by capitalizing on two-party dissatisfaction. I’ve always been skeptical of that premise, and I think this further shows that the more efficient use of a campaign’s limited resources is to focus on swaying people who regularly vote major-party. There is no large untapped pool of non-voting libertarians out there that we can turn out, and independent does not automatically equal potential Libertarian voter.

  7. Andy Craig Post author

    And I agree, the “Don’t waste your vote!” campaign against the LP was particularly intense this year. In my state we even had Republicans (well, not technically Republicans, but de facto Republicans) running goofy smear ads against our candidate with a saturation buy of online video ads. But there’s some incredibly overused Gandhi quote about what it means that they’re taking the effort to fight us. 😀

    A Republican the week before election day is at his peak libertarianism. 😉

  8. Richard Winger

    The Constitution Party vote for the top-of-the-ticket offices in 2014 is 180,420 if Oregon gubernatorial candidate is included, and 164,491 if he isn’t included.

  9. Richard Winger

    The Constitution Party’s best showing for top offices was in 2010, because Tom Tancredo, their nominee for Colorado Governor, got 651,232 votes. So the Constitution Party’s national top-offices 2010 vote was 961,524 if Chelene Nightingame’s vote for Governor of California is included, and 795,212 if it isn’t included.

  10. Paulie

    We’ll certainly get “more votes overall,” even though those votes will be totally incapable of reaching a winning majority.

    They help get us closer, by getting more media, inspiring more people to run downticket because they have heard of the LP, inspiring more of the people that end up running for winnable offices to become involved in the first place, getting people who never hear of the local races to vote LP in those because they liked something an LP candidate in a higher race said even though they can’t bring themselves to “spoil” their vote and elect a “greater evil” in that race etc. etc. And BTW many of those winnable offices aren’t even partisan at all.

    There’s also the incremental effect of influencing the other parties whether or not we become a major party at some time in the future. It’s how change has historically been impacted by alt parties.

    but it’s a common refrain that the way for us to get to the magic winning 34% or 50% is to get large numbers of apathetic non-voters to show up, by capitalizing on two-party dissatisfaction. I’ve always been skeptical of that premise, and I think this further shows that the more efficient use of a campaign’s limited resources is to focus on swaying people who regularly vote major-party. There is no large untapped pool of non-voting libertarians out there that we can turn out, and independent does not automatically equal potential Libertarian voter.

    I don’t think these numbers indicate anything like that. We do get people who would otherwise be non-voters to show up. It’s just that we can’t get all of them, nor all the independents. But we do get some. And most likely a greater proportion than we get of people who are stuck on the establishment parties with great loyalty.

  11. Richard Winger

    2006 was the best midterm year ever for the Green Party top offices, at 955,866. Libertarian in 2006 was 802,004. I completely agree with your points in your e-mail directly above. History is something everyone should pay attention to.

  12. Paulie

    Thanks Richard.

    I meant for the CP but I should quit asking you to chase it down, I know how to search your website. The comment was not an email, just a response to a couple of other comments In this thread.

  13. Andy Craig Post author

    I’ll elaborate on my point: you don’t get to winning an election riding an increase in disaffected abstainers, by getting 5% of them to vote for you. In terms of usual single-digit Libertarian vote totals, reaching the low-hanging fruit among non/unlikely-voters and those actively pissed at both major parties makes sense. I’ve done exactly that myself in our campaigns. But you very rapidly hit a hard ceiling there, the ~85% of such people who won’t show up to vote no matter what. If we’re talking about a hypothetical Libertarian campaign on the road to an outright win, that 34% or 50% level, then at some point the campaign has to be able to make the transition to persuading folks who usually vote D or R.

    The second, related point, is those who see a poll that says 60% of Americans want a third-party, or are sick of the two-party system, etc. Again, I’ve cited the same polls to make the same argument. But “unite the confused, ignorant, and apathetic” isn’t really a winning campaign strategy, nor is *just* railing against the two-party system and pleading for those who also dislike it to vote for you. Dissatisfaction with Ds and Rs isn’t going to do put a candidate over the top, we either have to be able to reach those people and sell them on voting Libertarian, or we have to get more mainstream D/R voters to vote Libertarian. I think the latter, at this hypothetical point in the scenario, is actually more likely than seeing a massive, double-digit increase in turnout.

    I’m also not saying in perspective that we had a bad result, not at all, or that getting 5% of the decrease in the two-party vote isn’t good. I don’t really have any context to compare it to, but I’m sure that’s probably a better number than if you ran the same calculation for past elections. Still, when 10 million people decided they won’t vote for either a Democrat or Republican over the course of a single four-year cycle, and we only reached 500,000 of them to vote Libertarian in a year where no other third party was attracting them, it tells me this isn’t a trend we can count on to snowball into Libertarians winning elections.

  14. Andy Craig Post author

    Sorry if that seems like nay-saying, that’s not my intent. Just trying to parse what data we have in a way that might be useful for future campaigns.

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