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Massachusetts Third Party Candidates Garner Strong Support in Early Polls

A recent poll of likely Massachusetts midterm voters shows strong support for Libertarian and Green-Rainbow candidates in the upcoming general election.

The Suffolk University/Boston Globe/NBC10 Boston/Telemundo poll shows almost every third-party candidate for statewide office earning over three percent of the vote, the amount of support required to secure major party status. Only one third-party candidate, Workers Party candidate Nick Giannone running for State Auditor, falls short of that amount.

As candidates get closer to election day, polling numbers typically tighten in favor of the major parties. However, early data from the Suffolk University poll shows positive news for supporters of third parties across the Commonwealth and provides a closer look at the fallout from the recent state primary elections.

In the gubernatorial race, Libertarian candidate Kevin Reed receives five percent (4.8%) of the vote against Republican nominee Geoff Diehl and Democratic nominee Maura Healey.

Reed, a Libertarian associated with the Libertarian Association of Massachusetts, also receives significant support from voters who backed Republican-hopeful Chris Doughty in the recent primary. A bruising primary cycle between the Diehl and Doughty camps sees 10% of Republican primary voters and 24% of Doughty supporters breaking to the Reed campaign. The poll did not include former conservative AM radio host and independent candidate Diana Ploss, who will also appear on the general election ballot.

The most heavily contested election of the season is State Auditor, with five candidates on the ballot. Democrat Diana DiZoglio leads the field, ahead of Republican Anthony Amore. Libertarian candidate Daniel Riek follows in third with five percent (5.4%) of the vote. Behind Riek is Green-Rainbow Party candidate Gloria Caballero-Roca with three percent (3%) and Workers Party candidate Nick Giannone with two percent (1.8%).

Even with five names on the ballot, there remains room for change in the State Auditor race. Polling data indicates that a sizeable 28% of voters remain undecided.

In the Secretary of State Race, Green-Rainbow Party candidate Juan Sanchez is the lone third-party candidate running against longtime Democratic incumbent Bill Galvin and Republican Rayla Campbell. While behind Galvin and Campbell, Sanchez polls at five percent (5%), showing the Green-Rainbow Party candidate securing enough to secure major party status if sustained into election day. Sanchez benefits most from Democratic voters between 18 and 35 years of age and voters unenrolled with any party.

The race for Massachusetts Treasurer offers Libertarians the safest route forward to securing major party status of their own, with Libertarian Cris Crawford appearing on the ballot as the only competition to incumbent Democrat Deb Goldberg. Crawford, the Libertarian Association of Massachusetts Treasurer, easily clears the three percent hurdle with the support of 17.6% of likely midterm voters. Further data shows the majority of Crawford’s supporters coming from unenrolled and Republican Party voters, with only 5% support from Democrats. Additionally, 33% of voters remain undecided between the two candidates.

The Suffolk University poll surveyed 500 registered voters who indicated they were very or somewhat likely to vote in the November 2022 general election for Governor. Polling was conducted from September 10 to September 13, 2022. The margin of error is +/- 4.4 percentage points. Full crosstabs are available here.

About Post Author

Jordan Willow Evans

Jordan is the managing editor for Independent Political Report. She has appeared on ABC News, NBC Boston, Sky News, BNT 1, and numerous local outlets. She is a proponent of civic inclusion and awareness and was featured in Represent: The Woman’s Guide to Running for Office and Changing the World and the Worcester Historical Museum exhibit PRETTY POWERFUL: 100 Years of Voting & Style.

5 Comments

  1. Jim Jim September 17, 2022

    So this means, for president in 2024, the Libertarian ballot line will be controlled by the non-LNC Libertarians?

  2. Jordan Willow Evans Jordan Willow Evans Post author | September 16, 2022

    To echo George’s comments, ballot access in Massachusetts is more challenging to maintain than earn. I frequently refer to three percent as a milestone but it’s probably best to view it as a measuring tool. It’s useful for measuring public support at this stage in the electoral cycle, but it also acts as a good indicator of what a party will need to navigate moving forward if its status changes.

    As a native of Central Massachusetts, it is not unusual to see even local Republican candidates and town committees struggle to compete. Republican numbers have continued to dwindle to the point that they constitute barely nine percent of Massachusetts voters. The number of viable signatures aside, this creates a situation where feeble or defunct local parties are quickly taken over on the primary ballot or organized purely for the convenience of specific candidates. Now apply those same circumstances to the Libertarians, Green-Rainbows, and other smaller parties, and an accomplishment becomes an albatross.

  3. George Whitfield George Whitfield September 15, 2022

    Tricky situation.

  4. Johno Johno September 15, 2022

    Could Cris Crawford actually win?

  5. George Phillies George Phillies September 15, 2022

    Readers should keep in mind that in Massachusetts major party status is not advantageous for your party unless your party actually is major, and Massachusetts really has only one major party, the Democrats. One of the reasons there are so few Republicans on the ballot for state legislature is that even for the Republicans ballot access is difficult. Ballot access is much easier here for minor parties.

    The core issue is that if you are a minor party, any registered voter can sign your nominating paper. If you are a major party, only people registered in your party, and people registered in no party, can sign your nominating paper. To make life more interesting, people not in any party are generally uninterested in politics and tend to prefer not to sign nominating papers. If you collect signatures other than door to door, and are a minor party, your signature validity rate is about 80%. If you are a major party, think 30%, except in large cities, where it can be even lower. I am aware of 10% in one case. As a result, if you are running for partisan office as a minor party candidate, a reasonable safety margin is about 50% extra signatures. As a candidate of a major party, if you are running for state representative (50 valid signatures needed) it is faster to procure a street list of voters and go door to door to collect signatures that you know are valid.

    Of course, if you are a major party only a small number of signatures are needed to put your Presidential candidate on the ballot.

    There is then the technical issue that if you are a major party your state committee will be elected at the Presidential Primary, for four year terms, and if you are a small party and only put a couple of people on the ballot, your opponents may run more candidates, take over your state committee, and run their candidate. Or no candidate.

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