Calibrating the “Spoiler Effect” is too hard and too unscientific.

Supposed Libertarian “Spoilers” for Democratic Senate candidates, link provided by this Montana based blogger because, spotted because it linked to me:

— U.S. Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid of Nevada, who won his seat in 1998 when he beat John Ensign by a mere 428 votes, and with less than 48 percent of the vote. The Libertarian candidate, Michael Cloud, got 8,044 votes, and the Natural Law candidate won 2,749 votes.

— Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., who won her Senate seat in 2000 by beating Republican Slade Gorton by 2,229 votes. Libertarian candidate Jeff Jared won 64,734 votes.

— Sen. Tim Johnson, D-S.D., who beat John Thune in 2002 by 524 votes to win the South Dakota Senate race. Libertarian Kurt Evans earned 3,070 votes in that contest.

— Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., who won his Senate race in 2006 by beating Republican Conrad Burns by 3,562 votes. Stan Jones, the Libertarian candidate, won 10,377 votes.

It is a little tough to figure out the “Spoiler Effects”.  Libertarian voters are not to automatically transferrable to the Republican party, and a small number will actually gravitate toward a Democrat over a Republican over social issues or issues of divided government.  A certain statistical Noise from people simply casting a vote for someone on the ballot has to be taken into account, and a large number will not be voting for a major party.

I find it a bit curious that he saw fit to mention the Natural Law Party candidate in Nevada, who if not on the ballot I assume votes would drift either to the Libertarian or to the Democratic candidate Reid, which makes that one a little too close for comfort in tabulating the “Spoiler Effect”, just as I suggested I am a little uncomfortable in stating that Jones gave the election to Tester because one could certainly make a Libertarian case for Tester over Burns.   There I just like the idea that the Democratic Senate majority swung based on a man who turned his skin blue as a side-effect of preparing for Y3K.  As for Maria Cantwell, I might as well add, she came in off the coattails of one Ralph Nader, who brought in voters that covered her margin of victory — third party spoilers cancel themselves out.  I would have to know the exact percentage of Johnson’s victory over Thune to provide my estimate.

At least he didn’t suggest Webb came in because of a Libertarian spoiler — the Libertarian margin is way too close to Webb’s size of victory over Mr. Macaca Man.  (Besides which, remember those exit numbers?)

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