Go to HHH home page.
Smart Politics
 


Will a Libertarian Tilt Missouri's U.S. Senate Race?

Bookmark and Share

The victory margin in only 1 of 37 Missouri U.S. Senate races has been narrower than the vote received by the leading third place candidate

jonathandine10.jpgA new report by The New Republic published on Monday profiled the third candidate who will be on the ballot in the high profile U.S. Senate battle between one-term Democratic incumbent Claire McCaskill and Republican establishment-disowned GOP nominee Todd Akin.

The report speculated how that candidate, Libertarian Jonathan Dine, might be the difference maker in November's race.

The theory is that disgruntled Akin voters who cannot bring themselves to vote for McCaskill now have an alternative in the Libertarian candidate.

And while Dine pulled in 3.0 percent during his 2010 U.S. Senate run and the last few polls show the race within low single digits, there has been little historical precedent in the Show Me State that points to third party candidates swinging a senate race.

A Smart Politics review of Missouri U.S. Senate election data finds that of the 37 general and special election contests held since 1914, the victorious candidate received a majority of the vote in 34 of them.

This means that in these 34 contests, the sum of all third party votes, even if each one were cast against the losing second place finisher, did not alter the outcome of the race.

Of the three remaining races in which the winning candidate did not receive 50 percent of the vote, two occurred over the last decade:

· Republican Jim Talent's special election win with 49.8 percent of the vote in 2002 over Democratic incumbent Jean Carnahan.

· Claire McCaskill's victory over Talent four years later in 2006 with 49.6 percent of the vote.

In both of those contests, however the victory margin was larger than the vote received by the third place finisher - libertarians in both cases.

In 2002, Talent defeated Carnahan by 1.13 points with Libertarian nominee Tamara Millay coming in third with just 0.98 percent of the vote.

In 2006, McCaskill defeated Talent by 2.27 points with Libertarian Frank Gilmour receiving the support of 2.25 percent of Missouri voters on Election Day.

That leaves just one race out of 37 in Missouri history since the introduction of popular vote U.S. Senate races 98 years ago in which it could be theoretically argued that a third party candidate altered the outcome of a race.

That race took place in 1944.

In that cycle, two-term Democratic incumbent Joel Bennett failed to receive his party's nomination, losing by 5.5 points to Missouri Attorney General Roy McKittrick (pictured).

McKittrick squared off in the general election against Republican Governor Forrest Donnell.

Donnell ended up defeating McKittrick by just 1,988 votes, or 0.13 percentage points, 49.95 to 49.82 percent.

Also running in that race were two left of center third party candidates: Socialist Party nominee Doris Preisler and Socialist Labor nominee William Cox.

Cox only received 215 votes, but the 3,320 votes received by the Preisler was 1,300+ votes greater than Donnell's victory margin over the Democratic nominee McKittrick.

That marks the only election cycle in which it can at least be theoretically speculated that a general election outcome was tipped by a third party candidacy in a Missouri U.S. Senate race.

In the most recent poll to include his name among the candidate choices, Dine was the candidate of choice for 4 percent of likely voters.

That poll, by SurveyUSA, was conducted a week before Akin's controversial comments about rape and pregnancy.

Follow Smart Politics on Twitter.

Previous post: Battleground State Maps Expand Slightly from a Month Ago
Next post: Does Anyone Care About Minnesota? (Polling the 2012 Presidential Race)

Leave a comment


Remains of the Data

Which States Own the Best Track Record in Backing Eventual GOP Presidential Nominees?

Nine states (each with primaries) have an unblemished record in voting for the eventual Republican nominee since 1976 - and not all host contests on the back end of the calendar.

Political Crumbs

Evolving?

When Scott Walker "punted" back in February after being asked if he was comfortable with the idea of evolution he added, "That's a question a politician shouldn't be involved in one way or the other." However, it may very well be a question that is asked at one of the upcoming GOP debates this year. In South Carolina during the first GOP debate in 2012, FOX News' Juan Williams asked Tim Pawlenty, "Do you equate the teaching of creationism with the teaching of evolution as the basis for what should be taught for our nation's schools?" Pawlenty replied, "There should be room in the curriculum for study of intelligent design" but that it was up to the local school districts if it should be in a science class or comparative theory class. At the fourth Republican debate held in California, Jon Huntsman addressed the GOP becoming "anti-science" thusly: "Listen, when you make comments that fly in the face of what 98 out of 100 climate scientists have said, when you call into question the science of evolution, all I'm saying is that, in order for the Republican Party to win, we can't run from science. We can't run from mainstream conservative philosophy."


73 Months and Counting

January's preliminary Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers show Minnesota's unemployment rate of 3.7 percent was once again lower than Wisconsin's 5.0 percent. That marks the 73rd consecutive month in which Minnesota has boasted a lower jobless rate than its neighbor to the east dating back to January 2009 including each of the last 67 months by at least one point. The Gopher State has now edged Wisconsin in the employment border battle for 204 of the last 216 months dating back to February 1997. Wisconsin only managed a lower unemployment rate than Minnesota for the 12 months of 2008 during this 18-year span.


more POLITICAL CRUMBS

Humphrey School Sites
CSPG
Humphrey New Media Hub

Issues />

<div id=
Abortion
Afghanistan
Budget and taxes
Campaign finances
Crime and punishment
Economy and jobs
Education
Energy
Environment
Foreign affairs
Gender
Health
Housing
Ideology
Immigration
Iraq
Media
Military
Partisanship
Race and ethnicity
Reapportionment
Redistricting
Religion
Sexuality
Sports
Terrorism
Third parties
Transportation
Voting