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Race Dem Votes GOP Votes Lib Votes (L) % (D) - (R) Margin
IN-Sen Donnelly 1,268,407 Mourdock 1,126,832 Horning 146,453 5.8% 141,575 -4,878
MT-Sen Tester 234,465 Rehberg 215,701 Cox 31,287 6.5% 18,764 -12,523
MT-Gov Bullock 234,980 Hill 226,555 Vandevender 17,729 3.7% 8,425 -9,304
AZ-01 Kirkpatrick 117,422 Paton 109,508 Allen 14,450 6.0% 7,914 -6,536
AZ-09 Sinema 108,056 Parker 101,089 Gammill 14,361 6.4% 6,967 -7,394
MA-06 Tierney 179,603 Tisei 175,953 Fishman 16,668 4.5% 3,650 -13,018
MI-11 Curson 159,267 Bentivolio 151,740 Tatar 11,611 3.6% 7,527 -4,084
NH-01 Shea-Porter 171,356 Guinta 158,482 Kelly 14,968 4.3% 12,874 -2,094
UT-04 Matheson 108,275 Love 105,629 Vein 5,703 2.6% 2,646 -3,057

As we've perused last week's election returns, we'd noticed a number of races where Libertarian candidates appear to have played spoiler for Republicans—certainly, more than we're accustomed to. While we haven't run a comparison with prior cycles, we've identified no fewer than nine contests in 2012 where the Libertarian received more votes than the difference between the Democratic and Republican candidates. What's more, none of these involved the typical 1 or maybe 2 percent you ordinarily expect a Lib to garner: Looking at the three-way vote, all but one were over 3 percent, and three took 6 percent or more, with a high of 6.5 percent in the Montana Senate race. These definitely seem like unusually high figures.

So what's going on here? I wouldn't want to speculate too much based on this limited data set. But I could easily believe that a growing proportion of conservative-leaning voters are too disgusted with the GOP to pull the Republican lever, but who won't vote for Democrats either, are choosing a third option and going Libertarian instead. This thesis dovetails with something else we saw this year: independents generally leaning more rightward simply because at least some former Republicans are now refusing to identify with their old party. It's not much of a stretch to imagine that some folks like that don't want to vote for their old party either.

The chart above summarizes our findings, based on preliminary data from the AP, with a big hat-tip to my colleague Jed Lewison. (Note that MI-11 refers to the unexpired term for ex-Rep. Thad McCotter's seat, not the full-two year term that starts in January.) It's too facile to say that without the Lib, every Democrat would have lost. But some very likely would have, so it's reasonable to conclude that the Libertarian Party gifted quite a few seats to Team Blue this year. Thanks, friends!

2:51 PM PT: Incidentally, here's a list of other races where a third party also played a possible role in the opposite direction. The party or parties taking more votes than the difference between the first- and second-place finishers are listed after each race. First up, Republican wins:

AZ-Sen: Libertarian
NV-Sen: "None of the above" and Independent American Party
IN-Gov: Libertarian
CO-06: Libertarian and an independent
IL-13: An independent
IN-02: Libertarian
MI-01: Libertarian and Green
And Democratic wins:
MI-11: U.S. Taxpayers (in addition to Libertarian in chart above)
NY-24: Green
It's hard to imagine the Libertarians helping Republicans in IN-Gov, CO-06, IN-02, and MI-01, just like it's hard to imagine the Green Party helping Democrats in NY-24. However, it's not inconceivable that the Green hurt Dems in MI-01, though that may have been balanced out by the Lib (who got more votes). Something similar may have happened in CO-06 as well. IL-13 is harder to read, and Nevada's unique "none of the above" option is a real scrambler, though the IAP is decidedly right-wing. So is the U.S. Taxpayers party in MI-11, but as we noted, there was also a Libertarian there as well.

Fri Nov 16, 2012 at 10:32 AM PT: Matt Welch of Reason, sort of the house organ of the Libertarian movement, makes a good point: For Andrew Horning in IN-Sen to have been a spoiler in the true sense of the word, 97% of the votes that went his way would have had to go Republican instead. That's not very likely. So here are all nine races sorted by the vote percentage taken by the Lib that would have needed to go to the GOP candidate to change the outcome:

MA-06: 22%
UT-04: 46%
MT-Gov: 48%
AZ-09: 49%
AZ-01: 55%
MT-Sen: 60%
MI-11: 65%
NH-01: 86%
IN-Sen: 97%

Originally posted to Daily Kos Elections on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 01:54 PM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  So I guess this means that Gary Johnson (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MichaelNY, Larsstephens

    didn't swing any of the states to Obama?  He didn't think he would, but a lot of people around here thought he might.

    "Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it... unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense." -The Buddha

    by Brian A on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 01:57:33 PM PST

    •  A good way to gauge Libertarian impact (6+ / 0-)

      Check out the California Congressional and Senate results where a Dem faced a Rep.  Those races are top two, so no  third parties involved.

      Looking at the county results, you can see how the Lib vote split, more or less, between the Dem or the Rep or undervotes.

      Short answer, when given no Lib option, Libs don't vote only vote for Republicans.  They split betwen the Dem and the Rep, but not always at a consistent percentage.  Candidates matter here.

      Mr. Gorbachev, establish an Electoral College!

      by tommypaine on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 02:00:59 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  When you say look at the Lib vote (0+ / 0-)

        Do you mean, the Lib vote from the June primary?

        Political Director, Daily Kos

        by David Nir on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 02:15:04 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  No, Libertarian vote for Johnson (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          bythesea, MichaelNY, Larsstephens

          Presidential vote in November.

          Statewide for example, the Senate race got less votes than the Prez race.  Emken (as of now on the state site) is getting the same percentage as Romney, 38.3.  This means Emken got less votes than Romney.  In contrast, DiFi got more votes than Obama.

          So if Dem and Rep undervotes were consistent, this would mean DiFi basically got all the votes from the four minor parties.  of course it is more complicated than that, but Johnson (Liberterian) and Hoefling (American Independent) are getting more votes than Stein (Green) and Barr (P&F).

          So, DiFi ran well ahead of Obama, apparently benefitting from the absence of third parties in her race.  Also, it would be hard to make a case here that Emken did better with Johnson voters than DiFi did, let alone did waaaay better.

          Mr. Gorbachev, establish an Electoral College!

          by tommypaine on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 02:32:25 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Greens Hurt Dems More (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        MichaelNY

        I saw a poll which concluded that Libertarians only hurt the GOP slightly. Libertarians use to hurt the GOP quite a bit, but recently, there is a growing trend of Libertarians making their second choice the Democrat rather than the Republican candidate.

  •  I'll do some "specu-ma-latin" (5+ / 0-)

    Face it, the top of the Republican ticket was a huge disappointment to the Ron Paul fanboyz of the Republican party. And they made their displeasure known for the party bosses. "Dismiss us at your peril" was the message. I wonder, will they push harder now? Is a 3rd party in the wing(nuts)?

    To me progress is not so much a goal as it is a process and I believe it will not follow a straight course. Remember, the drops of water that form the river may not take the shortest path but they will still reach the ocean.

    by ontheleftcoast on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 01:58:42 PM PST

    •  The Ron Paul wing still votes Republican (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MichaelNY, shenderson

      I am a former moderate Republican who went independent (unaffiliated in Maryland terms) in 1992.  I joined the Libertarian Party when Maryland officially acknowledged party.  I vote the straight Libertarian ticket at the state and local levels.  I also vote Libertarian in house and senate races. I vote for the Democratic POTUS candidate (does it really matter in Maryland?).

      With that said, I do not envision myself joining the  Democratic Party any time in the near future. While I am not a dyed-in-the-wool conservative, I am also not a progressive (plus, I have the Maryland Democratic Party with a passion).  Right now, I see Democrats as the enemy of my enemy, which makes it okay to vote for Democrats in some races.

  •  Good news for (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Quicklund, annieli, grover, bythesea, MichaelNY

    John McCain, Ron Paul... er... Rand Paul?

    Real stupidity beats artificial intelligence every time. (Terry Pratchett)

    by angry marmot on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 01:59:16 PM PST

  •  I lived with a Libertarian for two years and they (4+ / 0-)

    can be obnoxious and crazy.  To me, Nick Gillespie and Peter Schiff are no better than Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck but we can at least thank them for steering GOP votes.

    •  I subscribed to Reason magazine 25 years ago (6+ / 0-)

      Little did I know it was the house organ of the Libertarian Party. Was only vaguely aware that a Libertarian Party even existed. All I knew was Reason had the most unreadable fonts of anything printed in the English language, before or since. That was undoubtably a Godsend as it shielded me from exposure to Teh Crazy.

      •  Font abuse (4+ / 0-)

        I worked with typography people a fair bit over the last 25 years. And if you want to have your ear talked off bring up the subject of font abuse. Everyone of them has images of puke inducing "designs".

        To me progress is not so much a goal as it is a process and I believe it will not follow a straight course. Remember, the drops of water that form the river may not take the shortest path but they will still reach the ocean.

        by ontheleftcoast on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 05:31:49 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  I don't think you can compare them to Hannity (8+ / 0-)

      Libertarians are right on civil liberties, they're right on most foreign policy issues, they're right on the war on drugs, marriage equality, separation of church and state, abortion, most corporate welfare, and a number of other issues.

      Republicans are wrong on none of these issues. Libertarians believe in refuted austrian economic theories and defend these theories like a religious zealot, but they agree with progressives on many other issues.

      Would you rather have the republicans or the libertarians as the main opposition party?

      "Poor man wanna be rich, Rich man wanna be King, and the King ain't satisfied till he rules everything." Bruce Springsteen.

      by Johnnythebandit on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 03:39:19 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  *Wrong on all of these issues (6+ / 0-)

        "Poor man wanna be rich, Rich man wanna be King, and the King ain't satisfied till he rules everything." Bruce Springsteen.

        by Johnnythebandit on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 03:39:53 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Well let me explain what I meant, they can be (9+ / 0-)

        as obnoxious as Hannity and Beck.  Like I want to talk to them and work with them but I've known too many of them, including my old roommate, who say "I agree 60% with the Republicans and 40% with the Democrats".  Yes, they support marriage equality but they keep arguing that if you push for a constitutional amendment that it will violate religious freedom.  They're argument is "I personally support gay marriage but let the states decide" and this argument can be used for abortion.  The problem is that citizens shouldn't be voting on whether or not gay people should be allowed to marry or if women should have abortions, those are guaranteed rights.  Plus the whole religious liberty freedom argument doesn't work for me because gay people can also get married in a courtroom and be granted legal recognition of marriage.  It just comes back to the whole states rights argument that they can be huge zealots about.  They never learned their lesson from their hero Barry Goldwater.  States Rights can be good when it comes to issues like marijuana legalization, but marriage equality, women's right to choose and civil rights are not meant to be States Rights issues.  You know what I mean?  Plus Fox News allows obnoxious Libertarians like Napolitano and Stossel to spew their bull shit.  Libertarians in my view always desperately want to be friends with the Republicans but they don't want to acknowledge they have more friends on the left than the right.  They just don't like paying taxes, want a free, unregulated market and believe that Social Security and Medicare don't work.  They also love talking about ending the Federal Reserve and act like everything was grand under the Gold Standard, which it wasn't.  Plus my old roommate, who was obsessed with Libertarianism and so desperately wants to be a corporate suit actually said that "Greed is good" and there are a lot of them who agree with that.  When you start talking like Gordon Geecko, your done in my book.

        •  being anti-civil rights make them too attractive (12+ / 0-)

          to racists and militia types. For me that overcomes any good things they believe in and makes it too hard to separate the wheat from the chaff.

          America could have chosen to be the worlds doctor, or grocer. We choose instead to be her policeman. pity

          by cacamp on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 05:02:15 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  The question is, are republicans any better? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            MichaelNY

            The party that hates "bla people," and has consistently embraced and exploited racism, homophobia, and sexism for political gain. There's definitely some stuff coming from Ron and Rand Paul that I find reprehensible, but Gary Johnson seems to be moving libertarians in the right direction on civil rights.

            "Poor man wanna be rich, Rich man wanna be King, and the King ain't satisfied till he rules everything." Bruce Springsteen.

            by Johnnythebandit on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 05:31:29 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Understandable misconception, but still a (0+ / 0-)

            misconception. Their website (www.lp.org) states their party platform, and it's worth a read. My read is that the Libertarian Party is definitely NOT "anti-civil rights," as you assert.

            They actually appear to be pro civil rights, often to an extreme.

            Please don't hesitate to call me on this -- I'd welcome the correction if I'm mistaken.

            I maintain that the "libertarianism" expressed by racists and militia types is actually "sham libertarianism."

            My take is that Johnnythebandit's assessment is fairly accurate, which makes the party attractive to many young thinking people, the types who would typically be horrified by the Republicans' insanity regarding social issues.

            "...pero mi corazón me aconseja, que los nacionalismos - ¡qué miedo me dan!" - Enrique Bunbury (El Extranjero)

            by JustGiaco on Fri Nov 16, 2012 at 10:05:34 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  What about the libertarianism (7+ / 0-)

              of Rand Paul and the Barry Goldwater campaign of 1964? Both of them expressed the view that businessmen have the right to choose to serve or not serve whomever they like, and therefore, that any civil rights law regulating their conduct is wrong. Restricting civil rights laws to those regulating government conduct only amounts to an anti-civil rights position, in the real world.

              Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

              by MichaelNY on Fri Nov 16, 2012 at 01:38:55 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  That's the real problem with libertarianism (4+ / 0-)

                Their rhetoric expouses a pro-civil rights agenda insofar as it supports treating everyone equally.  The problem, though, is that whether those policies actually produce the desired outcome is of completely secondary importance to libertarians.  Rather, what is important to libertarians is how intellectually satisfying and consistent the policy is.

                Personally, I don't care if libertarians are "right" on civil rights or foreign policy.  The extent they are is purely coincidental.  Anyone who cares more about being intellectually consistent, and being able to apply a small set of principles uniformly, regardless of the outcome, is a monster, plain and simple.

                To believe that markets determine value is to believe that milk comes from plastic bottles. Bromley (1985)

                by sneakers563 on Fri Nov 16, 2012 at 04:19:05 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Monster is a little strong (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  JustGiaco

                  I'd just say that they may have good intentions, but their refusal to bend their principles means they can pave several roads to Hell without really looking back.

                  Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

                  by MichaelNY on Fri Nov 16, 2012 at 06:07:38 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I see where you're coming from (0+ / 0-)

                    Sorry it's too late for me to rec you.

                    I once saw a lecture, "Monstrous Geographies" or something, where they said that the original meaning of "monster" was a creature where one trait is exaggerated to the detriment of all else. It was in that sense that I used it.

                    For instance, we all value people who "follow their principles", and want to live in a world guided by just principles.  I think most of us temper that, though, depending on the situation, because we recognize that you can't just expect a simple set of basic principles to account for all the vast complexity of reality.  Principles should be a map, not a straightjacket.  Unfortunately, what I often see in libertarians is a tendency to believe that because the principle is "good", any outcome produced by the application of the principle must also, therefore, be "good", or at least acceptable.    

                    Obviously, the modern meaning has a more sinister connotation, so you're right that it's a bit strong.  I don't think they have ill intentions.  I do think, though, that they elevate principle to such a degree that they lose sight of why we value principles in the first place: to help us arrive at a desirable outcome.  We need to understand that "good" principles can lead to bad outcomes.

                    To believe that markets determine value is to believe that milk comes from plastic bottles. Bromley (1985)

                    by sneakers563 on Mon Nov 19, 2012 at 08:54:38 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

              •  Here's an area where I disagree with (0+ / 0-)

                progressive politics. What's wrong with allowing businesses to choose who they serve?  If enough people disagree with a business owner's policies, he/she will have no recourse other than to serve people he/she doesn't want to serve or risk going out of business.  Creating a law that forces him/her to serve people does make him/her want to do it.  All it does is make the business owner hate his/her country.

                Let's face it.  Different races do not want to live together.  If they did, we wouldn't have overwhelmingly black middle class counties like Prince Georges County, Maryland or overwhelmingly white counties like Carroll County, Maryland.

                The truly crazy thing about progressive politics is that P.G. County gets a pass while Carroll County gets persecuted. It's okay for middle class black Americans to live in a middle class black enclave because they are only exercising racial affinity.  However, when middle class white people do the same thing, they are written off as racists.  That's just plain stupid.  All it creates is resentment.

                •  That's never how things worked (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  IowaLibert, JustGiaco

                  Segregation was not about the free market. White businessmen who wanted to serve blacks were often effectively denied the right to, either by law, by violence or threats from the KKK or some good old boys who reminded the owner they had guns they could bring next time, or through social pressure or boycotts by white racists.

                  I'm trying not to be inordinately angry at your post, but are you sure you've studied enough of the history of the two periods of violently resisted civil rights movements (Reconstruction and about 100 years after that)?

                  Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

                  by MichaelNY on Fri Nov 16, 2012 at 07:20:30 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

              •  both sham libertarians! (0+ / 0-)

                But I like your comments, MichaelNY, keep 'em coming.

                I live in a red part of PA right now, so I have to keep a low profile -- can't have too many political discussions out loud -- they all have guns and I don't.

                "...pero mi corazón me aconseja, que los nacionalismos - ¡qué miedo me dan!" - Enrique Bunbury (El Extranjero)

                by JustGiaco on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 07:29:12 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

        •  It's important to distinguish btw states rights (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          MichaelNY, Sparhawk

          and "states rights." One form of states rights is based on criticizing the overly broad interpretation of the commerce clause by Supreme Court liberals. This is perfectly rational and something I generally agree with. The other form of states rights is based on ignoring the 14th amendment so states can pass discriminatory laws. This is clearly wrong.

          I wouldn't say all libertarians agree with the second form of states rights, but even if they did I'd say it's far better than the GOP support for a federal marriage amendment.

          "Poor man wanna be rich, Rich man wanna be King, and the King ain't satisfied till he rules everything." Bruce Springsteen.

          by Johnnythebandit on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 05:38:17 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yeah, but too many of them agree with (0+ / 0-)

            the first kind, and while you have a point about the Commerce Clause - it would have been more elegant if a constitutional amendment had been passed than simply new precedents during the New Deal - "states' rights" historically has meant slavery and Jim Crow/segregation. Plus, my point of view is that while states have powers, only individuals have rights. It's a bit too simplistic, as associations of individuals clearly have rights, but I really reject the notion that there's any inherent right of a state, whereas there are constitutional powers reserved for states. And taking away the notion of states having rights puts the discussion in a different perspective, which amounts to this: How much power should be reserved for states, as opposed to individuals or the Federal government?

            Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

            by MichaelNY on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 11:34:31 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  There are types of Libertarians (5+ / 0-)

          the "intellectual" conservative but socially liberal types who really hate fundies, the Southern militia confederate and crazy religious types, and younger Dem-leaners who hate the drug war/foreign wars to name a few.

      •  Those are the doctrinaire Libertarians (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        MichaelNY, shenderson

        There are an awful lot of what I call glibertarians, who only have one or two true libertarian positions, usually pot and economics, and very RW authoritarian positions on things like abortion or gay marriage.

        Hige sceal þe heardra, heorte þe cenre, mod sceal þe mare, þe ure mægen lytlað

        by milkbone on Fri Nov 16, 2012 at 02:32:35 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  I doubt that third party votes are ideological (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Odysseus, MichaelNY

    Some of them clearly are, but I don't actually think there's a large difference in impact between having a Green and a Libertarian or a Constitution Party candidate on the ballot. They take the generic protest vote, which largely comes from the party less happy with their nominee.

    For instance, given that Tierney is a very weak Democrat and Tisei kind of libertarian, I doubt that those were actually libertarians voting for the libertarian there. Wouldn't be surprised if most of them voted for Obama-- I could see a split like 45% Obama, 30% Johnson, 25% Romney.

    •  I don't think there are any examples, though (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MichaelNY

      At least this year, of a race where the Lib provided the margin for the Republican.

      Political Director, Daily Kos

      by David Nir on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 02:16:14 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  MA6 (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MichaelNY

      I think you're right about MA6, Tierney had baggage that's probably the only one of the 9 where the Libertarian took more votes from the Dems than from the GOP.

      I suspect that generically if you take the Libertarian off the ballot, of every 6 Libertarian voters, maybe 1 would vote for the Dem, 2 for the GOP, and 3 would leave it blank or vote for another protest candidate. I remember seeing a survey of Ron Paul primary voters that said (IIRC, I can't find it online) 17% would vote for Obama, 45% for Romney, and others would vote for Johnson or other protest candidates.

      SSP poster. 43, new CA-6, -0.25/-3.90

      by sacman701 on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 02:29:32 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  that is my feeling as well (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MichaelNY

      No real numbers to back this up, but given how unlikable both Beurkle and Maffei are in NY-24, I do think the protest vote went Green at least in part from the right as well. The majority of conservatives around here are way more moderate than Beurkle but would also never vote for Dan. Plus, Rozum's numbers were pretty impressive, and I highly doubt Dan would have had a 12% margin if she wasn't running. I could, however, be wrong.

  •  My guess is... (0+ / 0-)

    That the split between likely Dems and Rep votes for these Libertarian votes is closer than you think. I don't think it's worth counting each of those as 1 to 1 for a Republican vote. It's certainly possible that it made the difference, but it's probably not as simple an analysis as "these were the difference makers".

  •  Mia Love (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cacamp, MichaelNY

    Anyone think there was a Bradley Effect there?  I know the best pollsters didn't poll that race, but a few outfits did, and they all had Love up pretty comfortably I think.  If the Bradley Effect was still "in effect" anywhere I'm sure Utah might be one place.

    •  I think so too (0+ / 0-)

      In the end they just couldn't pull the lever for the black lady. And damn I'm glad, I was not looking forward to seeing her become the token black GOPers every Sunday morning or giving cover to the dog whistles coming out of the mouths on teabaggers.

      America could have chosen to be the worlds doctor, or grocer. We choose instead to be her policeman. pity

      by cacamp on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 05:08:41 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Um no... (0+ / 0-)

    Polls show that Libertarians when they vote vote more for Democrats then Republicans

    We only think nothing goes without saying.

    by Hamtree on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 02:49:43 PM PST

  •  Did the Virgil Goode (Constitution) candidancy (0+ / 0-)

    effect the state totals? Maybe in aggregate with Gary Johnson?

    Now with their party out of power, the GOP is flailing more then Mitch McConnell's jowls on a playground swing. S. Colbert

    by christomento on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 02:59:04 PM PST

  •  why wouldn't this be a reflection of (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MichaelNY

    the Teabaggers being mavericky?

    For whatever it's worth, the Cato Inst. has claimed that the Tea Party has a libertarian core.  Despite the fact that Cato is saying it, this rings true with what I've seen.  

    It might be applicable for some of this election phenomena, though I can't find any direct links online.  Any reason why heightened Tea Party identity wouldn't translate into more Libertarian votes?

    Please proceed, Governor.

    by vivadissent on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 03:24:18 PM PST

  •  The D-R < Lib calculus (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    plf515, Laurence Lewis

    doesn't necessarily necessarily the Libs handed us the election. The Libertarian voters wouldn't necessarily break 100% for the R (although they probably break more that way than for the D), and some of them would just undervote or not vote at all. Of the races you listed, I think the only ones where there's a reasonably strong case that the Libertarians handed us the election are UT 4, MT-Gov, and MAYBE MA-6 AZ-9 and AZ-1

  •  MI-11 (0+ / 0-)

    In the table above, the data for MI-11 is for the special election for the last six weeks of this term of Congress, not the general election for the two years starting in January. In that election, Bentivolio, the GOPer, won.

  •  David Curson (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MichaelNY

    So this guy will be in Congress for the lame duck session for just over a month? Lame.

  •  IL-13 (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MichaelNY

    Take WAA for what it's worth, but their poll of the race had Hartman drawing away more Democrats than Republicans. Looking at his profile, he sounds a like a moderate Dem -- pro-DREAM Act, amend the ACA, don't repeal it, loves him some Simpson-Bowles -- so he probably flipped that race.

  •  This will make for nicer talk (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MichaelNY

    on Thanksgiving.

    We can nudge-nudge agree/converse on something with our redneck self-righteous libertarian uncles and cousins.

    Then watch football without the spite and vitriol.
    At least this time.

    skipping over damaged area

    by Says Who on Fri Nov 16, 2012 at 03:54:29 PM PST

  •  What evidence have you got that libertarians (0+ / 0-)

    took votes from Republicans rather than Democrats, much less 100%?

    •  Because the overwhelming majority of libertarians (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mahakali overdrive, MichaelNY

      are disgruntled former Repubs, at their core being more selfish than genuinely caring about liberty, which is a Republican mentality.

      "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

      by kovie on Fri Nov 16, 2012 at 04:05:16 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Are you sure? (3+ / 0-)

        I know a few libertarians who belong to that group because they want drugs to be legal or for other reasons related to social issues. Those are likely former Democrats.

      •  Yeah well (0+ / 0-)

        I voted for Obama, but drone strikes, civil liberties, and the War on Drugs made it a closer call than the Dems should be comfortable with. I wouldn't take my vote for granted in 2016 if the Dems don't get with the sanity program on some of these issues.

        (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
        Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

        by Sparhawk on Fri Nov 16, 2012 at 04:10:09 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Merely by posting here (0+ / 0-)

          You differentiate yourself from most people with libertarian leanings. I feel fairly confident in saying that most self-defined libertarians care more about guns, low taxes, deregulation and money than about free speech and human life.

          "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

          by kovie on Fri Nov 16, 2012 at 04:16:06 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  You're wrong! (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        bontemps2012

        The majority of Libertarians are former liberal and moderate Republicans (a.k.a. RINOs in modern GOP speak).   They outnumber the Ayn Rand types by at least an order of magnitude.  How do I know?  Well, I am a former moderate Republican who belongs to the Libertarian Party.  

        By the way, I voted for Barack Obama.

        •  Which part am I wrong about? (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          MichaelNY, bontemps2012

          The part you just agreed with:

          Because the overwhelming majority of libertarians
          are disgruntled former Repubs
          or this part:
          at their core being more selfish than genuinely caring about liberty, which is a Republican mentality
          My impression is that former Repubs who are unhappy with their former party's selfishness are now either indies or Dems, not libertarians, and that libertarian former Repubs tend to believe that the GOP is too pro-big government.

          Myself, I love big government, so long as it stays out of our private lives. But I'm too reality-based to be a libertarian. The world needs some rules and coercion.

          "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

          by kovie on Fri Nov 16, 2012 at 06:29:38 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  The second part (0+ / 0-)

            Very few real Republicans joined the Democratic Party after leaving the GOP.  Most became unaffiliated voters or Libertarians.  A few became Greens.

            The people who jumped ship to the Democratic Party were the "joiners" who came of age after Reagan was elected.  I joined the GOP in the seventies and left in 1992 because of the fundie/neocon/supply-side holy trinity.  That trinity has nothing to do with the "old school" Republican platform. Two-thirds of that trinity came from the conservative wing of the Democratic Party.

            My primary political goal in life is to get all forms of income treated equally with respect to taxation. I do not mind paying taxes as long as I am not treated like a second class taxpayer.  We need one set of tax rules with no exemptions or loopholes.

            •  I think you are incorrect about this (0+ / 0-)
              Very few real Republicans joined the Democratic Party after leaving the GOP.
              That is, if "real Republican" just means someone actually registered as a Republican. It's widely accepted, and I think it's true but stand to be corrected, that lots of moderate Republicans (specifically, fiscally conservative but socially liberal Republicans) in places like suburban Philadelphia, suburban Chicago, the suburbs of New York, Upstate New York, and Vermont first started splitting their tickets, then became independents, and ultimately joined the Democratic Party.

              I don't give you permission to determine for all of us who among them was a "real" Republican. Republicanism is not some kind of Gospel truth, to which everyone but a few are heretics.

              As for your support for regressive flat taxation, I would suggest you consider not discussing such things much on this site, as this is a liberal Democratic site, and your views on these kinds of things will be met with hostility on the main part of the site and the observation that they are off-topic on the Daily Kos Elections sub-site.

              Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

              by MichaelNY on Fri Nov 16, 2012 at 07:59:28 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

  •  I think the Libertarians are getting more votes (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bontemps2012

    than they deserve.

    I live in Republican-dominated Texas. I voted a straight Democratic ticket, then went through and for every office that had no Democratic opponent, I voted libertarian. That's mostly judges. And mind you  - I hate Libertarians! They are invariably fools who have no place in political office, but they are still preferable to the religious idiots and dolts the Republicans have been running.

    I suspect that votes like mine have been padding the Libertarian totals.

    The US Supreme Court has by its actions and rhetoric has ceased to be legitimate. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot - over

    by Rick B on Fri Nov 16, 2012 at 03:59:11 PM PST

  •  Are we sure that the Democrats (0+ / 0-)

    ..didn't send busloads of Somalis (from that Libertarian Paradise) to influence and eventually steal the elections? I never saw any "Libertarians" in any of these places before..

    My bet is it's just the Ron Paul contrarian-crowd exercising their God-given right to waste their vote.

    If they're otherwise "conservative" - Power to them. Make a statement. Do it again in 2014.

    Maybe one day the Fourth Estate will take their jobs seriously. Or not..

    by Anthony Page aka SecondComing on Fri Nov 16, 2012 at 03:59:51 PM PST

  •  MA - 06 (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MichaelNY, bontemps2012

    My good friend Daniel Fishman worked the polls on election day.  He also looked at the statistics.

    He had a modest number of people tell him they voted for him.  The largest group was people who were Democrats who would surely not vote Republican but were convinced that Tierney was unacceptable.  Also, Fishman noted that he seemed to tend to do better in the Districts that Tierney carried.

    We can have change for the better.

    by phillies on Fri Nov 16, 2012 at 04:03:14 PM PST

  •  Very interesting post - kudos on the research. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MichaelNY

    I think that one of the greatest political breakthroughs would be for more states to adopt instant-runoff or multiline voting. Vote for a Libertarian as first choice, Republican as second (or Green as first choice, Democratic as second.) This eliminates the spoiler effect, and would send a shot across the bow of major parties when a substantial number of voters started choosing a minor party first.

  •  So we won because of a spoiler named Pony? (0+ / 0-)

    "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

    by kovie on Fri Nov 16, 2012 at 04:03:44 PM PST

  •  Jim Graves almost beat bachmann (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shenderson, MichaelNY

    because there wasn't the usual Independence Party spoiler sucking up some of the not bachmann vote.

  •  Libs not a "pure take" from Rethugs, IMO (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Wisdumb, ConcernedCitizenYouBet

    I've seen anecdotal comments from Libertarian voters that say they'd otherwise would have voted Democratic (and in the past, have).  There are more reasons for Libertarian leaning folks to vote (D) than there are for Greens to vote (R), for example.  Of course they're overwhelmingly Republican leaning, but in a close call like the NH-01, Shea-Porter, race I'd be cautious about attributing the swing solely to the Libertarians sabotaging the Republican.

    Just sayin'.

  •  Canada has had the reverse problem for years (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MichaelNY

    I say "reverse" because in Canada it's the left that has multiple parties which divide up the vote, allowing the one major rightwing party to slip in and win all too often.

    If the US right wants to divide up their piece of the pie among multiple parties, that's all right by me.

  •  Still doesn't make me feel any better about 2000 (3+ / 0-)

    "Mitt who? That's an odd name. Like an oven mitt, you mean? Oh, yeah, I've got one of those. Used it at the Atlas Society BBQ last summer when I was flipping ribs."

    by Richard Cranium on Fri Nov 16, 2012 at 04:15:31 PM PST

  •  Fallacy alert (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    stevemb, ConcernedCitizenYouBet

    The “spoiler” fallacy incorrectly assumes votes belong to one of only two political candidates. No candidate "steals votes" from a different candidate. A vote is given by a voter to whomever that voter chooses. No vote is taken from anyone because no vote is granted in advance of it being cast. If there are more than two choices, the election is still decided based on the total numbers of votes gained by each candidate. When enough voters choose something other than a D or an R candidate, then a candidate other than the usual D and R candidates will win the election.  

  •  Unfortunate outcome in MI-01 then. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Notreadytobenice

    McDowell came within .06% of winning, IIRC. He wouldn't have been my favorite Dem by any means, but at least he would have been a Dem.

    I'm seeking to organize DKos members in SE Michigan--roughly, from the Ohio line at Lake Erie NE to Port Huron, W to Flint and back S from there. If you'd like to join our new group, Motor City Kossacks (working title), please Kosmail me.

    by peregrine kate on Fri Nov 16, 2012 at 04:35:28 PM PST

  •  What if the Koch Brothers... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bontemps2012

    ...decided that the impending "reorganization" of the GOP was "best served" (read that as most effective leveraging for their desires) by them pumping up the Libertarian "Brand" to the tune of several hundred million? Recruiting, coaching, positioning and "underwriting" dozens of "certified" Libertarians in GOP primaries or stand-alone in General Elections for 2014 and a couple of following cycles?

    When you are right you cannot be too radical; when you are wrong, you cannot be too conservative. --Martin Luther King Jr.

    by Egalitare on Fri Nov 16, 2012 at 04:59:30 PM PST

  •  It was quite possible in Indiana. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MichaelNY

    Rupert Boneham ran on the Libertarian ticket, and ran rather briskly to the left of Gregg in two areas.  

    1.  He offered unambiguous support for gay marriage in Indiana where John Gregg opposed it.

    2.  He supports a woman's right to choose whether or not to have an abortion unambiguously.  John Gregg opposes abortion.

    "Politics should be the part-time profession of every citizen who would protect the rights and privileges of free people and who would preserve what is good and fruitful in our national heritage." -- Lucille Ball

    by Yamaneko2 on Fri Nov 16, 2012 at 07:49:49 PM PST

    •  These are orthodox libertarian points of view (0+ / 0-)

      It somewhat misses the point to call them further left. They amount to defenses of civil liberties/individual rights. There was a time when that was neither right nor left, or actually, could be either. There were civil libertarians in both the Democratic and Republican Parties, and also statists who supported violations of civil liberties in both major parties.

      Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

      by MichaelNY on Fri Nov 16, 2012 at 08:50:33 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  North Dakota Libbies did not field a Senate (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MichaelNY

    candidate.

    But they were absolutely critical to seeing Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) win that seat.

    In fact, a Libbie Senate candidate in North Dakota would have drained off anti-Rick Berg voters from Heidi.

    She won by 3,000 votes.

    Berg helped sneak through a change to the FAA Bill that unleashed 30,000 aerial drones for public and private use spying on Americans.

    We pounded that blunder over and over the last two weeks of the campaign.

  •  It's a reasonable supposition. (0+ / 0-)

    When the major parties offer nothing but crap, you cast a message vote.

    LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

    by dinotrac on Fri Nov 16, 2012 at 08:02:15 PM PST

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