Surprising results for minor-party presidential candidates

On the whole, Americans rejected minor presidential candidates. The nationwide popular vote stands at 66.3 million for Barack Obama (52.7 percent) and 58.0 million for John McCain (46.0 percent).

Out of curiosity, tremayne at Open Left reviewed the vote tallies for other presidential candidates:

530,200 votes: Ralph Nader

519,800 votes: Bob Barr

179,900 votes: Chuck Baldwin

147,600 votes: Cynthia McKinney

 30,800 votes: Alan Keyes (in CA)

 28,300 votes: Write-in/other

 10,500 votes: Ron Paul (in MT)

The Iowa Secretary of State's office does not yet have the general election results on its website, and the Des Moines Register's election results page only gives the numbers for Obama and McCain, but wikipedia gives these vote counts for Iowa:

818,240: Barack Obama

677,508: John McCain

7,963: Ralph Nader

4,608: Bob Barr

4,403: Chuck Baldwin

1,495: Cynthia McKinney

I am surprised that Nader got so many votes. That's a lot less than he received in 2000 but at least 60,000 more votes nationwide than he received in 2004.

I also find it interesting that nationally, Bob Barr got three times as many votes as Chuck Baldwin, even though Ron Paul endorsed Baldwin. Maybe the "brand name" of the Libertarian Party is stronger than that of the Constitution Party, or maybe Barr just has more name recognition because of his prominent role in the Bill Clinton impeachment hearings.

In Iowa, Baldwin and Barr received approximately the same number of votes.

If any Bleeding Heartland readers have contacts in the Ron Paul for president crowd, please post a comment and let us know how the activists split among McCain, Barr and Baldwin.

UPDATE: A Bleeding Heartland reader compiled all the county results from Iowa and noticed something strange about Dubuque County. As he commented at Swing State Project, Dubuque County showed

quite a few votes for third party candidates and in some instances (La Riva/Moses) more than in the whole rest of Iowa.

I suspect there's either something wrong with those numbers or they had some strange butterfly ballot.

Did anyone out there vote in Dubuque County, and if so, was the ballot design strange in some way that would produce an unusually high number of minor-party votes for president?

  • Ron Paul supporters and their votes

    I'm a Libertarian who wasn't involved with Paul's campaign but talked quite a bit with a number of people who were.

    Most of the Paul supporters I know voted for either Barr or Obama--splitting about 50/50 actually. I think that's largely a function of most of them being in their early twenties. But a significant number of Paul's supporters did fall into this demographic.

    From what I understand, those who went for McCain were people who were always going to vote Republican no matter what. And Baldwin is a far-right Christianist who strongly dislikes immigrants, gays, etc. His supporters aren't even remotely libertarian, so they would never have voted for Barr or McCain because they aren't sufficiently socially conservative.

    Paul's endorsement of Baldwin confused and disturbed a lot of people I know. It may have largely been a result of Barr's refusal to take part in Paul's initial plan to endorse all four of the major third-party candidates simultaneously. But it also says a lot about Paul's unwillingness to distance himself from the more unsavory elements who happen to agree with him on the need to roll back the federal government's power.

  • I just noticed

    that Iowa County's presidential vote ended in a tie.  The Register has it marked as red so I hadn't noticed until I saw it was black on CNN's map.  Mauro is supposed to release election numbers tomorrow, which should be interesting.  The Register finally released this article (, which is the first that didn't suggest "record turnout" or support Mauro's predictions of 75-80 percent turnout.

    • definitely not record turnout

      Only about 11,000 more votes cast than in November 2004, and given the increases in voter registration, that would represent a lower turnout rate than 2004.

      It could be explained by Iowa no longer being a swing state, or it could be explained by complacent Democrats staying home.

      • is it possible

        that Republicans didn't show up because they felt that they knew the result already?  I can't remember where but I have read a few articles that suggested that as a possibility.  It seems to me that with all of the voter registration efforts put forth by Obama's campaign and Democrats in general, the Democrats would have been more inclined to show up at the polls.

        • that is possible

          and in fact that's what I expected before the election. However, the statehouse and Congressional election results suggest to me that this did not happen.

          Several Democratic incumbents who were not seriously targeted either lost or almost lost. We also failed to pick up some seats that politicos expected us to win.

          According to that e-mail Rob Hubler sent out to his supporters, Democratic turnout in the 5th district counties was not very high. Note that Obama didn't win Pottawattamie or Woodbury counties and we barely held on to one House and one Seate seat in Woodbury.

    • actually Obama won it

      you can find the final result here,

      I compiled a spreadsheet of the Iowa results for swingstateproject.

      You can find it here:

      I got the results from in those instances where the number differed from the Des Moines Register I marked it with "DMR got fewer votes" or "DMR got more votes"

      I haven't compared it to the last election yet, but it seems obvious that turnout was down in the 5th district. At least that's the district where the fewest people actually bothered to vote.

  • Barr vs Baldwin

    Barr was on the ballot in a lot more states, thus the higher national vote count. Paul and Barr feuded after Barr blew off a multi-party press conference of minor party candidates that Paul hosted. Paul had originally endorsed "vote any third party" but then endorsed Baldwin as a slap at Barr.

    And the only people we hate more than the Romans are the Judean People's Front. Splitters!

  • Interesting results...

    Very interesting.  I'm all but convinced that it would be impossible to launch a successful third-party ticket in present-day America.  People with money and philosophical ideas have tried (RP being a good example) and failed.  Even with a mediocre candidate on the Republican side (and certainly not the first), conservatives weren't willing to do anything different.

    I'm hearing a lot about conservative Republicans reorganizing and rebuilding.  I don't know if it will actually happen... do you remember any sort of talk among Democrats?  Have you seen restructuring among Dems on any large-scale efforts?

    • the best example I can think of

      is the creation of the Democratic Leadership Council, which set out to "modernize" the Democratic Party in 1985 (after Mondale's crushing defeat):

      The DLC supported people like Bill Clinton.

      I do not recall any group of liberal Democrats arguing that Mondale lost because he wasn't liberal enough (which would be the best analogy to the current thinking among GOP conservatives).

      After Dukakis lost I think the DLC gained strength among the Washington pundits. But the biggest change from that election was that it spurred Democratic political consultants to be more aggressive in responding to Republican attacks. Dukakis had tried to "take the high road" when hit with the Willie Horton ad and other things. But people like James Carville made sure Clinton had a "war room" and a rapid response capability during the 1992 campaign.

      • Yup, the war room...

        ...Clinton's campaign was a smart one.

        Thanks for brainstorming with me.  I don't know how the reorganization will go, with the fiscal conservatives cursing the Dobsons of the social conservatives, and the social conservatives cursing the McCain bots...

        I don't think the future of the party belongs to Palin, Romney, or even (sadly) Huckabee... none of the personalities from this year.  It's kind of like Gore, or Edwards... once you have a shake at it, people feel like you've had your turn and it's time to see what someone else can do.  

        I think the future of conservatives is uncertain... we need to come back to a common purpose (even if that "common purpose" is actually comprised of a handful of goals/notions) or else we're going to tank.

        No one (except for a few people online) was actually excited about McCain.  And while I don't agree with identity politics simply for identity's sake, we conservatives do need candidates that average Americans identify with.  And really, the Democrats need that too.  Aside from Obama, you guys haven't put forth an average American since Clinton.  

        Conservatives need to take hold of the fact that most people in America agree with basic family values.  Most agree with the basic right to life.  Most agree with reasonable, flat tax sort of taxes and helping the poorest of the poor without enabling others to take advantage of others' hard-earned money.  Most agree with responsibly-run wars, and get tired of lengthy stays in other countries.  Americans generally agree with these things... actually, Americans generally look like Huckabee, but without the past history as a preacher (which is what hurt him the most, I think).  But, sadly, the fiscal conservatives defeated him.  I don't know that he'll get another shake.

        Blegh.  I fear that unless the Republican party actually puts some muscle and brain behind this reorganization, it'll end up just being all mouth and won't actually trickle down to Republican voters, and we'll have a long, dark season of liberal control in America.

        We'll see... honestly, if Obama is a "liberal" as Bush was "conservative", it can't be so bad.

        • I've never seen any poll

          showing that most people support a flat tax.

          On the contrary, a larger percentage than ever support reversing the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest 2 percent.

          I don't think you need to worry about liberal control--Obama's not considering any liberals for the key cabinet positions, as far as I've seen.

  • socialism in Dubuque

    Probably not,

    I took a look at the provisional results that Michael Mauro posted yesterday and it shows only 121 equaling 0.1% in Iowa for Gloria La Riva (Party for Socialism and Liberation), while the first results from Dubuque County had 248 votes for her in Dubuque county alone, the same is true for the candidates of the Socialist Party USA   (181 in Iowa, but 335 in the first Dubuque County results and of the Socialist Workers Party (2911 in Iowa, but 375 in the first Dubuque County results).

    So I guess they updated their results in Dubuque County. It will be interesting to see the final county to county results which should be published next week.

    But there will be quite a few votes added. If you compare the results Mauro released with my results that I compiled from the Auditors of every single county, Obama gains about 13500 votes, while McCain gains 11500.

Login or Join to comment and post.