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August 01, 2005

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Oh, c'mon, you're on the "Nader siphoned votes from Gore" boat? That old wives' tale will never die...

Old wives' tale? Assuming almost no Nader votes would vote for Bush, you'd have to claim that 100% of them would not have voted unless Nader was in the race. Otherwise, the ones who would have voted in a two-way Bush/Gore race would almost surely have voted for Gore - hence "siphoning". See Barry Burden, who argues that while Nader increased turnout, he also drew votes away from Gore.

There is nothing that proves that Nader voters would've voted for Gore. Yes, there's no doubt that they'd never vote for Bush, but how many of them would've voted Green anyway?

Let me rephrase my initial comment: there's no doubt that Nader siphoned votes from Gore, but there is no evidence that they were enough to make a difference.

Burden reports that a Voter News Service exit poll asked voters directly what they would have done in a two-way Bush/Gore race:

"Nearly 30% of Nader voters and more than 40% of Buchanan voters would have abstained without their candidates in the race. About half of Nader's votes would have gone to Gore, the perceived next-best candidate."

If Nader votes in Florida behaved like Nader voters nationally, Gore would have picked up more than 25,000 votes if Nader hadn't been in the race (multiply the percentages in Burden by Nader's Florida vote total, then take the difference between the number of Nader voters who would go to Bush and Gore).

Yeah, well, forgive me if i don't have a lot of faith in exit polls. 2004 really put a dent in that one.

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