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The Sarvis Effect on the Warner-Gillespie Senate Race

Libertarian candidates have always been an interesting fly in the Republican ointment. Most Republicans truly believe that a Libertarian candidate always drains votes from Republicans. Therefore, Republicans often spend (waste) money attacking Libertarians and trying to convince them to drop out so the Republican can win.

The only problem is, Libertarians take as many votes away from Democrats as they do from Republicans in most races. The Republican Monday Morning quarterback always wants to play “what if” and they add the total votes a Libertarian candidate received to the Republican’s totals and believe the Republican would have prevailed if only the nasty Libertarian had dropped out.

But on foreign policy, Libertarians and Democrats share a “hands off” approach to military intervention with Democrats being slightly less reluctant to start wars and bomb people. And on many social issues such as gay marriage and drugs, Democrats and Libertarians share a common interest.

The only place where Republican and Libertarian views intersect is a common belief that absolute government power is to be avoided at all costs. Of course Republicans lose their mistrust of bigger government the day after they win an election, so their commitment is farcical. Ironically, if Republicans governed as they campaigned we would have a Congress full of Ron Paul’s fighting government expansion at every turn.

The Ed Gillespie campaign cited a new Quinnipiac University poll that shows him within 9 points of Mark Warner. This poll seems to be an outlier compared to other recent polls showing Warner with a 20 and a 22 point lead. But my personal belief is that this race is actually within the 10 point margin but the pollsters are using turnout and number models based on the 2012 presidential elections, which will not be the same model this year. But very few of the polls this year are releasing the internal raw data, so I am guessing that the polls showing a 20+ lead for Warner are based on 2012 models. And the closer polls are based more on the last midterm elections- 2010 – when Republicans did very well.

But one thing that was not mentioned by the Gillespie camp was the Robert Sarvis numbers. Sarvis is the Libertarian candidate running in this race that has Republicans concerned he will siphon votes from Gillispie – who is a long shot at best and will need every vote possible to pull off the upset of the 2014 cycle.

But Sarvis is actually pulling more Democrat votes from Warner than he is Republican votes from Gillespie.

The poll reveals that of the people who identify as Democrats, 3% plan to vote for the Libertarian candidate while only 2% of Republicans plan to vote for Sarvis.

And while Gillispie leads Warner among Independent voters 43% – 41%, a whopping 9% of Independents will vote for Sarvis. And while 9% sounds pretty high one must realize that the only choices offered in the poll for party affiliation were Republican, Democrat or Independent. Libertarian was not a choice so the poll lumps in Libertarian Party members with the Independents. I would suspect that at least 5% – 6% of those categorized as Independents are actually Libertarians, most of whom would not vote for Gillespie or Warner if there were no Libertarian candidate.

So the belief among Republicans that a Libertarian candidate takes votes away from Republicans is not supported by this poll. Nor is it supported by most polls.

But for Republicans looking for someone else to blame when they lose, Libertarians are always the prime target. Because it couldn’t be the “Democrat Lite” campaign messages, could it?

About Tom White

Tom is a US Navy Veteran, owns an Insurance Agency and is currently an IT Manager for a Virginia Distributor. He has been published in American Thinker, currently writes for the Richmond Examiner as well as Virginia Right! Blog.

Tom lives in Hanover County, Va and is involved in politics at every level and is a Recovering Republican who has finally had enough of the War on Conservatives in progress with the Leadership of the GOP on a National Level.

8 Responses to “The Sarvis Effect on the Warner-Gillespie Senate Race”

  1. FRANK PAPCIN says:

    in reality–what is the difference between a democrat and a libertarian?

    –their thought on government control?–AND?–what else
    taking government control out of the picture–how are they different?

    • Gene Lefty says:

      Is this a trick question? Ok, I will bite!

      The did difference is that Democrats win elections? Is that the answer you were looking for?

      Do I win a prize?

  2. Bob Shannon says:

    The most perplexing yet easily explained dynamic in all of this is what frustrates folks who understand the voter mindset.

    The blame associated with Cuccinelli’s loss last year is a textbook example and a good one to use. It also validates my belief that partisan politics prevail , in spite of evidence that would normally be associated with mass defections under almost any other venue besides politics. Case in point.

    Both political parties has been utter failures for no less than 30 or more years. If you consistently bought a bad meal at a restaurant or consistently had to take your automobile back to the same repair shop because it wasn’t fixed properly, odds are and human behavior suggests you are soon eating somewhere else and having a new repair shop work on your car. Competition and market forces , sound reasoning prevail and people change their behavior.

    But when it comes to politics people seem hell bent on returning to the same failed models that over and over have done nothing even remotely close to what is promised during the campaign mode.

    First of all, in fairness, we have had only 2 choices to pick from, and while that might explain part of this odd behavior it doesn’t nearly help us understand why now with a 3rd option people continue to walk into a voting booth and once again choose the broken model.

    The old adage ” stay with the devil you know” is too much of a oversimplification to suffice. It is a bit deeper than that. It has to do with conditioning , and the rather solid job campaign advertising does each cycle. While money drives the beast, allowing the message to be repeated over and over , perhaps lending to the comfortable idea that somehow ” this time will be different” mindset. You see it in the almost “hero worship” going on at this very moment once again with a particular candidate running for Congress. I have to chuckle to myself because I have seen it so many time, as recently as 2008 when Bob McDonnell was receiving the same type of “hero worship”, a blind partisan mindset that appears to literally detach otherwise normal people from any measured reality. One can only conclude that politics, or political campaigns have indeed mastered the ” lowest common denominator” quotient very successfully. How to reach the right tone so as to BS them one more time—and it works.

    If any metric that can be agreed upon to measure actual past results is used, voters then weigh the absolute failure of both of the 2 major parties and then assuming voters were to behave in a typical fashion ( as in the examples I described above) then someone like Sarvis would be at 35-40%, probably win a 3 way contest.

    In fairness the other partial explanation is that 3rd party candidates, including Libertarians are new, unknown, and the “devil you know” mentality seems to kick in. The high priority that so many voters give to “winning” also hinders progress.

    I have so often ask people who identify as conservatives or republicans the same tired question over and over ” we gave republicans 82 new seats in Congress in 2010–what did we win , or Republicans ran Virginia for the last 4 years–what did we win ? ”

    This question seems to almost frustrate them , because they can’t point to anything that was won. Perhaps then all that is left is the answer none of us want to own up to, namely that many of these voters lack the gray matter required to make somewhat more discriminating tough choices, at least as it pertains to voting.

    That reality leads to the old adage ” we get the government we deserve”. I only hope that comforts those who won , yet have nothing but empty bags to hold onto, until their next “hero” comes along.
    Bob Shannon

  3. Paul Blumstein says:

    In addition, there are many Libertarians who would not vote at all if there wasn’t an LP candidate to vote for.

  4. KIM SINHGAS says:

    A major factor in Virginia’s Midterm Elections is the Conviction of SpongeBob McDonnell and his wife Maureen in the Gift Gate Corruption Trial. Its effect on the independent voter turnout desperately needed for the Republicans to win is a “big unknown” in the equation. Voter apathy on their part is the game changer- if they stay home or vote Libertarian to send a message to both Parties- it may favor the democrat.

    Bob McDonnell’s damage to the GOP Brand will last for years-

    When Illinois Republican Governor George Ryan went to Federal Prison for selling drivers licenses to Illegal aliens, a republican couldn’t get elected Dog Catcher on the ballot.

  5. Bob Shannon says:

    Kim raises an excellent point not to be overlooked in the sense that discriminating voters and the ensuing disdain for the corruption, then perhaps lends to the reasoning behind fewer voters identifying themselves as either republicans or democrats when registering. The numbers Sarvis reached last year in the Governors race 145,000–where these people are dupes, or idiots as some might suggest ? I think not. More people are returning to the issue of Integrity and it’s past prominence in a candidate.

    In 2011 when the MTP exposed Del Robert Albo and State Senator Ryan McDougles pushing a bill raising traffic fines , some up to $4,000–$5,000 driving anyone charged under these proposed new traffic laws to run out and hire ……traffic attorneys, and that both of these legislators were attorneys specializing in TRAFFIC LAW

    I will not sit out and not vote in an election. Blood has been spilled giving each of us that privilege. At the same time winning no longer means as much to me as it apparently does to so many others. As a last resort and one I employ these days with greater frequency I will write in a candidate if no one is on the ballot that I can support while maintaining my own integrity.

    John Taylor of Tertium Quid and the Virginia Institute said it best last year when he commented at one of the Tuesday Morning Group meetings ” republicans won’t change until they know we won’t vote for them” . I happen to agree with John’s statement and could burn up my hard drive with example after example in just the recent 5-10 years citing evidence supporting my own choice to support republicans less and less at election time. If we continue to walk into voting booths with the ” my guy isn’t as bad as their guy” rationale we will never get off the hamster treadmill , running in circles with no tangible evidence that any progress is being made. Republicans may win elections, some of them may even sell themselves as “conservative”, but if real measurable progress isn’t made–please explain to me just what was “won” ?

    Bob Shannon

  6. Hanover Dad says:

    The fed up with the establishment crowd “throw the bums out” pushed Cantor out the door. I hope they keep pushing in other districts and states too. The question is how many of them will vote for Carr? Sarvis? Throw out locals next year?

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    Tom White Says:

    Nothing is more conservative than a republican wanting to get their majority back. And nothing is more liberal than a republican WITH a majority.

    Check out NewsMax!

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