The Buchanan Factor

by John Hawkins | February 24, 2004 11:59 pm

I received an email from RWN reader “HezbollahNext” that clued me into something interesting about the 2000 elections that somehow escaped my notice…

“Buchanan cost Bush Wisconsin New Mexico Oregon and Iowa cause his vote totals in those states where higher then the win margin for Gore in those states. Everyone talks about Nader and Florida and New Hampshire, but never what Buchanan cost Bush.”

Of course, I went back and verified the numbers and here’s what I found…

Bush lost by 5708 votes in Wisconsin (11) and Buchanan received 11,471 votes.
Bush lost by 366 votes in New Mexico (5) and Buchanan received 1,392 votes.
Bush lost by 6765 votes in Oregon (7) and Buchanan received 7,063 votes.
Bush lost by 4144 votes in Iowa (7) and Buchanan received 5,731 votes.

So if Buchanan wouldn’t have run in 2000, it’s at least POSSIBLE that Bush would have reeled in another 30 electoral votes. Even if you decide that Oregon is too close to call, that’s still 23 electoral votes.

Here’s another little interesting fact about those states — normally, they have leaned HEAVILY towards the Democrats — i.e., they’re states that most people would take for granted that the Democrats are going to win. In fact, if you look at each Presidential election from 1988 on, those states went Democratic 15 times out of 16.

But…and didn’t you just know there had to be a “but”…don’t get too excited. Nader pulled in a lot more votes than Buchanan in all those states and I don’t expect him to be anywhere near as strong this time. But still…if Kerry were to actually write off the South and try to go with a “win the Gore states + 1 or 2 strategy,” even the loss of a couple of those states could be quite significant. It may be nothing, but it’s worth keeping an eye on…

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