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Thursday, September 27, 2012

Libertarians and Greens, Oh My

We are less than six weeks from the November 6 general election.  Nationally, President Obama is beginning to open statistically significant leads in the swing states and the race is tilting towards him.  The President has opened up a 5.4% average lead in Ohio over Governor Romney according to Real Clear Politics.  No Republican has ever been elected President without carrying Ohio.
The race remains close, however, and is far from over.  Nevertheless, the President is the clear favorite to reelected:  74.9% probability according to Intrade; 81.9% according to FiveThirtyEight.
Democrats are gaining ground in U. S. Senate and House races as well.  In Texas, the polling is beginning to show an uptick for Democratic legislative candidates.  We are also seeing the Libertarians poll strongly in Texas this cycle.  Normally, a Libertarian candidate will pull 2% to 3% of the vote in a competitive race between a Republican and a Democrat.  In 2012, we are seeing the Libertarians in the 3% to 5%+ range.
Every cycle, there are a handful of races where the Libertarian candidate receives more votes than the margin of victory for the Democrat over the Republican.
Year
Dist.
Candidates
Party
Winner
Vote %
2006





HD 17
Tim Kleinschmidt
REP
47.88%
Robby Cook (i)
DEM
X
48.91%
Rod Gibbs
LIB
3.19%
HD 32
Gene Seaman (i)
REP
46.15%
Juan Garcia
DEM
X
48.25%
Lenard Nelson
LIB
5.58%
HD 93
Toby Goodman (i)
REP
46.94%
Paula Pierson
DEM
X
49.60%
Max Koch
LIB
3.44%
HD 118
George Antuna
REP
44.3%
Joe Farias
DEM
X
48.2%
James Thompson
LIB
7.5%
2008





SD 10
Kim Brimer (i)
REP
47.52%
Wendy Davis
DEM
X
49.91%
Richard Cross
LIB
2.56%
HD 11
Brian Walker
REP
49.05%
Chuck Hopson
DEM
X
49.28%
Paul Bryan
LIB
1.65%
HD 105
L. Harper-Brown
REP
X
48.72%
Bob Romano
DEM
48.67%
James Baird
LIB
2.60%
2010





HD 48
Dan Neil
REP
48.51%
Donna Howard (i)
DEM
X
48.53%
Ben Easton
LIB
2.94%


Philosophically, one would believe that if a Libertarian candidate is not on the ballot, the Libertarian vote is much more likely to go to the Republican.  In general, Republican legislative candidates did a good job of getting Libertarians not to file or to withdraw from the ballot this cycle.  Below are what I consider the most competitive Texas legislative races.
Dist.
Republican
Democrat
Libertarian
Green
ORVS
ODVS
SD 10
Mark Shelton
Wendy Davis (i)
55.2%
46.7%
HD 12
Kyle Kacal
Robert Stern
59.9%
44.0%
23
Wayne Faircloth
Craig Eiland (i)
51.0%
52.4%
26
Rick Miller
Vy Nguyen
65.8%
36.1%
34
Connie Scott (i)
Abel Herrero
47.1%
56.8%
43
J. M. Lozano (i)
Y. Gonzalez Toureilles
51.7%
52.4%
45
Jason Isaac (i)
John Adams
Yes
57.5%
45.4%
47
Paul Workman (i)
Chris Frandsen
Yes
60.4%
41.6%
48
Donna Howard (i)
Robert Thomas
Yes
43.9%
58.2%
54
Jimmie Don Aycock (i)
Claudia Brown
57.0%
46.8%
78
Dee Margo (i)
Joe Moody
47.0%
56.0%
85
Phil Stephenson
Dora Olivo
59.9%
43.1%
102
Stefani Carter (i)
Rich Hancock
56.0%
46.1%
105
L. Harper Brown (i)
Rosemary Robbins
Yes
55.3%
47.2%
107
Kenneth Sheets (i)
Robert Miklos
54.9%
47.5%
114
Jason Villalba
Carol Kent
56.7%
45.1%
117
John Garza (i)
Philip Cortez
50.8%
52.0%
134
Sarah Davis (i)
Ann Johnson
58.1%
42.9%
136
Tony Dale
Matt Stillwell
Yes
59.1%
43.2%
144
David Pineda
Mary Ann Perez
Yes
49.2%
53.4%
149
Diane Williams
Hubert Vo (i)
46.7%
55.4%


Libertarians in the Austin area generally run stronger than any other area of the state, and this could be problematic for Isaac and Dale.  The Libertarian in HD 144 further strengthens Mary Ann Perez’ position.  However, the lack of Libertarians in the DFW house races and SD 10 is a significant benefit for the Republicans.  Finally, the Green candidate could provide the margin of victory for Harper-Brown in a close race, presuming all of the Green vote would otherwise be Democratic. A Green candidate can be expected to receive about 1% of the vote in a legislative race.
Although there are not that many competitive legislative races in Texas this year, the presence or absence of a Libertarian on the ballot is likely to have a major impact on the end result.