Projected Impact of Nader on Close States, 2004

Our previous electoral discussion was based on Zogby polling data, with a minimum of political analysis. Let’s look at similar electoral breakdown, only this time relying upon analytical forecasts from the widely respected Cook Political Report, and incorporating the impact of Ralph Nader.

Charlie Cook published his research on this in the New York TImes yesterday — next to Paul Krugman’s chart (which Brad DeLong first published a few weeks ago). I suspect the chart so mesmerized readers that they may have overlooked Cook’s article. That would be a shame, because Cook lays out some very interesting thoughts on the November election:

A look at current polls in the context of the 2000 state by state election results show that an independent Nader candidacy will impact the outcome of this election.

While Cook agrees with the conventional wisdom that Nader will get far fewer votes than the 2.7% of the electorate he received four years ago — the race between President Bush and John Kerry may very well be so close that “even a declawed Ralph Nader could tip the election to the incumbent.

In 2000, Green Party nominee Nader cost Al Gore Florida and New Hampshire — either of which would have given the vice president a victory. National polls that add Nader to the mix put the race at a statistical dead heat, or give the president a narrow edge. (AP and Ipsos Public Affairs: Bush 46%, Kerry 45%, Nader 6%). Even if Nader garners only a third of his prior support, he could tilt the election.

GOP has holds 23 states with 200 electoral votes; the Democrats can probably count on 11 states and the District of Columbia for 168 votes.

16 states are “in play” where, based upon the 2000 results and the electoral map, Nader could shift the balance in favor of the incumbent.

Don’t assume its just Florida and New Hampshire. There were 5 additional states that Gore barely won in 2000, where the margin of victory was less than Nader’s votes:

Projected Impact of Nader on Close States, 2004

State 2000 Margin of Victory Nader’s Vote Count Electoral Votes
Iowa 4,000 30,000 7
Minnesota 58,000 126,000 10
New Mexico 366 21,000 5
Oregon 6,765 77,357 7
Wisconsin 5,700 94,000 10

In addition, in several states the margin of victory for either Bush or Gore was only a little more than Nader’s totals. The margin of victory in Washington state (and its 11 electoral votes) for Gore was a little more than Nader’s votes — 139,000 lead to Nader’s 103,000 votes. The margin in Missouri (11 electoral votes) for Bush was 79,000, while Nader had 38,500 votes. Similar result in Ohio (21 electoral votes) — Bush won by 165,000 votes, and Nader garnered 118,000.

Cook concludes: “Make no mistake: Nader will probably earn fewer votes than last time, but he still could make the difference.”

UPDATE: This chart gets updated regularly; The most recent version is here

You can also see other related post (including addtional polls and electoral vote analysis) here

The Next Nader Effect
Charlie Cook
NYTimes, March 9, 2004
(Charlie Cook is editor of the Cook Political Report and a political analyst for National Journal)

Presidential Election of 2000, Electoral and Popular Vote Summary

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  1. JunkieWire – The Joe Hill Dispatch journal of news for political junkies. commented on Mar 19

    Arab Voters Abandoning Bush in Swing States

    Shamelessly lifting an entire post from Barry Ritholtz at The Big Picture: The Wall Street Journal had an unusual and insightful election report today (3/17): “Arab-Americans Sour on Bush.” The article focuses on Arab Americans, a formerly solid G.O.P….

  2. richard eisenstein, m.d. commented on May 21

    I have long admired Mr. Nader’s dedication to supporting what is in the public’s interest and I can scarcely remember an issue in which I disagreed with him.
    It is extraordinary that one man holds the power to decide who the next president will be. I hope he will again choose what is best for the country.

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