New polls show third party U.S. presidential candidates varying radically in popularity

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Ralph Nader
Image: Don LaVange.

Two nationwide polls released this week, one conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs and the other by the John Birch Society (JBS), show several third party U.S. presidential candidates varying radically in popularity.

Among the 1,018 adults surveyed in the Ipsos poll, 48% said they would vote for Democratic Party nominee Barack Obama, while 42% said they would vote for Republican Party nominee John McCain. 2% support independent Ralph Nader and 1% of respondents said they would cast their ballots for Libertarian Party nominee Bob Barr. The margin of error was reported as +/-3.1%.

Chuck Baldwin
Image: 2008 Baldwin/Castle National Campaign Headquarters.

The John Birch Society's online poll, however, is showing very different numbers. In it, in which 5,972 took part from late June through last week, Constitution Party nominee Chuck Baldwin leads Barr, McCain and Obama at 1,972 votes (33%). Baldwin is trailed by Barr, who received 1,712 votes (28.7%). Following Barr is McCain with 947 votes (15.9%) and, in last place, Obama with 341 votes (5.7%). 1,000 voters (16.7%) said that they were not voting for any of the candidates mentioned. The JBS poll was an online poll of visitors to their web site and should not be confused with a scientific poll.

Former Congressman Bob Barr
Image: Commissioned by Bob Barr.

It should be noted that both of the polls were taken before Barr's controversial snubbing of Republican Congressman Ron Paul's third party unity conference on Wednesday. Many of Barr's supporters have since revoked their endorsements of him and joined other presidential campaigns, mainly Baldwin's and Nader's.

In the last two weeks, the percentage of third party and undecided voters has ranged from 6 - 8.0%. The percentage of undecided and third party voters reached its peak of 12.0% on July 24th, 2008, but has since steadily declined. The percentage of third party votes in the 2004 election only reached 1.0%, but in the 2000 election it reached 3.75%.

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