May 25, 2004
Polls and parties

As far as I'm concerned, the main thing to take away from this CBS poll is the following:


John Kerry

Reps - Now April
11% 7%

Dems - Now April
80% 80%

Inds - Now April
51% 43%

George W. Bush

Reps - Now April
84% 91%

Dems - Now April
11% 11%

Inds - Now April
35% 39%

Kerry now has as much support among Republicans as Bush does among Democrats (along with a sizeable lead among Independents), while Bush's support among Republicans is only a smidgeon ahead of Kerry's support among Democrats. This is finally some empirical evidence to go along with all of the anecdotal evidence that Republicans may be turning on Bush. It's still only one piece of evidence - some confirmation from other polls, as well as a continuation of the trend, would shore it up quite a bit. But at least now there's one number to support the stories.

The related story on the potential of the Libertarian Party candidate to damage Bush in some swing states is worth a read, more for the inside-baseball stuff than anything else. Two items of interest:

Nader’s endorsement this year by the Reform Party and his efforts to work with presumptive Democratic nominee John Kerry has some political analysts convinced that his support may be more equally distributed between the right and left than in 2000.

First I've heard that hypothesis. Not sure I believe it, but worth keeping an eye on.

For Robert Novak, if Libertarians do not make their presence felt this election and Mr. Bush’s loses, the third-party will hold political weight in 2008.

“I just had breakfast with a guy and we discussed that people are already talking, as politicians do, about the what-ifs,” said Novak. “Everybody believes if Bush loses, the Republican Party will move to the left in ’08, to the Schwarzenegger and Giuliani strain, and that is where you really get the possibility of a serious third-party movement.”

I'll believe that when I see it. I don't care what Bob Novak says, as long as Tom DeLay draws breath, the Republican Party ain't moving anywhere but rightward. This is not to say that I wouldn't be up front cheering for the scenario he paints.

Finally, the Libertarian Party here says they've collected the necessary signatures to gain access to the Presidential ballot this year, something which doesn't appear to be the case for the Reform and Green parties.

Libertarians presented about 75,000 signatures Monday to the Secretary of State's office in Austin. Election officials must validate 45,540 signatures for the Libertarians to make the November ballot. The signatures must be from registered voters who did not vote in this year's Democratic or Republican primaries.

A spokeswoman for the secretary of state said the office hopes to make the determination by early July.

The two other parties that mounted petition drives -- the Green and Reform parties -- were unable to gather enough signatures.

All three parties have complained that the high hurdles Texas sets for ballot access made their petition drives difficult.

They also said voters are wary of placing additional candidates on the ballot who could serve as spoilers in close races.

Many Democrats believe that Ralph Nader's Green Party presidential candidacy in 2000 took enough votes from Al Gore to give the presidency to George W. Bush in that year's close race.

Although President Bush is expected to carry Texas easily in November, some petition prospects balked because of the lingering concern about the effects of third-party candidacies, petition-gatherers said.

"It seems like they blame the third parties for Gore losing four years ago," said Wes Benedict, ballot access chairman for the Texas Libertarian Party. "They don't want to sign petitions because they don't want Bush to win."

No comment.

Also Monday, supporters of Nader -- running this year as an independent -- turned in 80,107 signatures even though they were due two weeks ago. Nader fell about 10,000 short of the 64,076 signatures he needed to win a place on the ballot.

Nader spokesman Kevin Zeese said the campaign turned in the petitions as part of its court challenge to the state ballot access law, which sets stricter requirements for independents than political parties.

Jennifer Waisath, spokeswoman for the secretary of state's office, said the state will keep the Nader petitions until told otherwise by the courts.

He may not make the ballot, but he'll continue to be in the news. Whoopie.

Calling all copy editors:

To get on the ballot without a petition drive, a party must receive at least 2 percent of the vote in the preceding governor's race or 5 percent in another statewide race.

Green and Libertarian candidates made the 2002 ballot because at least one statewide candidate of each party drew more than 2 percent in the 2000 election. None did in 2002, so the parties had to launch petition drives this year.

2000 was not a governor's election year, so I assume they'd have needed five percent to make the ballot in 2002. Oops.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on May 25, 2004 to The making of the President | TrackBack