SPOTLIGHT

The Libertarian Polling Boom

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UNITED STATES - Sept 24: Thom Tillis (R) North Carolina during an interview at Roll Call in Washington, D.C.   
AP2014
Scott Bland
July 24, 2014, 7:45 a.m.

The Demo­crat­ic nom­in­ee is un­pop­u­lar, the Re­pub­lic­an nom­in­ee is un­pop­u­lar, and polls show voters tak­ing a look at the Liber­tari­an. Flash back or flash for­ward: Two mar­quee 2014 cam­paigns are look­ing a lot like the 2013 Vir­gin­ia gov­ernor’s race right now, and that cam­paign provided some use­ful guid­ance for how to watch them. — Quin­nipi­ac’s latest Flor­ida poll con­firmed its pre­vi­ous ones: More people view Gov. Rick Scott (R) and ex-Gov. Charlie Crist (D) un­fa­vor­ably than fa­vor­ably. The num­bers have been even worse for Sen. Kay Hagan (D) and state House Speak­er Thom Tillis (R) in North Car­o­lina, where na­tion­al Demo­crats and state Re­pub­lic­ans also plumb the depths of pop­ular­ity. And re­cent sur­veys in both states show Liber­tari­an can­did­ates pulling 9% or high­er. — Polls usu­ally over­state third-party sup­port, and they’re likely to do so again in North Car­o­lina and Flor­ida this year. That’s the same story we saw in Vir­gin­ia in 2013, when the two un­loved ma­jor party con­tenders pushed Robert Sar­vis (L) high­er than usu­al in the polls — and his ac­tu­al vote share un­der­per­formed 19 of the 20 fi­nal pub­lic polls of his race. — But in races where voters aren’t in love with either nom­in­ee, Liber­tari­ans can still catch on more than usu­al at the bal­lot box. (Sar­vis still pulled in 6.5% of Vir­gini­ans’ votes in 2013.) There’s plenty of cam­paign left, and Tillis es­pe­cially may have an op­por­tun­ity to change voters’ minds about him once the Le­gis­lature’s dam­aging spe­cial ses­sion is over. But on the oth­er hand, most of the money flow­ing in­to these races is neg­at­ive. It would be very un­likely for Liber­tari­ans to do as well in Novem­ber as they’re do­ing at the polls now. But the same sur­veys also show why they could keep the even­tu­al win­ners from get­ting a ma­jor­ity vote all the same.— Scott Bland

What We're Following See More »
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THE LAST ROUND OF NEW HAMPSHIRE POLLS
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We may not be talking about New Hampshire primary polls for another three-and-a-half years, so here goes:

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  • The 7 News/UMass Lowell tracking poll has Trump way out front with 34%, followed by Rubio and Ted Cruz with 13% apiece. Among the Democrats, Sanders is in front 56%-40%.
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IT’S ALL ABOUT SECOND PLACE
CNN Calls the Primary for Sanders and Trump
17 hours ago
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Well that didn’t take long. CNN has already declared Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump the winners of the New Hampshire primary, leaving the rest of the candidates to fight for the scraps. Five minutes later, the Associated Press echoed CNN’s call.

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