Tuesday, February 24, 2004

Buchanan and Nader: a contrarian view. Anthony Schinella wrote recently that exit polling in New Hampshire and Florida in 2000 showed Ralph Nader pulled just as many votes from Republicans as he did from Democrats. Schinella - a diehard Nader supporter - concludes that Nader did not cost Al Gore the presidency.

I don't doubt Schinella's numbers, but sorry, I'm not buying his overall thesis. For instance, here is David Rosenbaum in today's New York Times:

Mr. Nader said at the Press Club that surveys of voters leaving the polls showed he had received more Republican votes than Democratic votes in New Hampshire in 2000.

That is true. New Hampshire has 30 percent more registered Republicans than registered Democrats.

But people there did not vote a straight party line for president in 2000. On the question of whom they would have voted for with only two candidates on the ballot, 3 percent of those who said they would have voted for Mr. Gore voted for Mr. Nader, and only 2 percent of voters who said they would have voted for Mr. Bush voted for Mr. Nader.

Nationally, Rosenbaum adds, Nader voters preferred Gore over Bush by a margin of 45 percent to 27 percent. Nader voters also supported Democratic congressional candidates over Republicans by 58 percent to 27 percent. I mean, come on. Is this clear enough?

Schinella corrects me on the number of electoral votes that New Hampshire casts: four, not three.

Declaration of independence. Erstwhile Bush supporter Andrew Sullivan writes, "The president launched a war today against the civil rights of gay citizens and their families."

The text of Bush's message today in support of a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage is astonishing. This borders on hate speech. I may wind up eating my words, but my first reaction is that Bush is in full panic mode, and that he's going to end up alienating middle-of-the-road voters this fall.

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