COMMENT: The media also refused to believe Ron Paul’s draw in the primaries alone; their disbelief supposedly fueling no media coverage. Now, Barr polling at levels higher than the media can believe,
is only evidence of the effect the Ron Paul Revolution has had in restoring a spirit of liberty as faith in the two-party system continues to decline. New Hampshire may not be the best representation of the entire country, but it certainly shows that ‘something’ is going on.

Dante Scala
July 10, 2008

Don’t get us wrong, we enjoyed the Ron Paul primary campaign as much as anybody: Ginormous lawn signs. Demonstrators in colonial-era garb marching in downtown Manchester. And imagine how much money you could have made, betting on the Texas congressman vs. the New York mayor and taking just 2 percentage points!

Still, we’re a bit bewildered by the latest Zogby Internet poll, which reports the following “state of the race” in New Hampshire:

Obama: 40
McCain: 37
(national Libertarian Party candidate) Bob Barr: 10
Nader: 2

Last January, Paul won some 18,000 votes in the Republican primary. For the sake of argument, let’s assume that every single one of those voters casts a ballot for Barr in November. Those 18,000 voters would represent 2-3 percent of the New Hampshire electorate, guesstimating a turnout of 700,000 to 750,000. So Barr at 10 percent right now is tough to believe.

That said, though, if the Libertarian Party could win 2 to 3 percent of the vote in November, that surely will not help McCain’s cause, assuming most Libertarians’ second choice would be a Republican, not a Democrat. We have a hard time believing Nader could do any better than the 0.7 percent he won here four years ago. So the presence of third parties would likely hurt McCain more than Obama.

Dante Scala teaches American politics at the University of New Hampshire and blogs at Graniteprof.

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