View Poll Results: Your opinion of people who vote 3rd-party:
I am a Democrat and/or liberal, and I view 3rd-party voters positively 7 16.28%
I am a Democrat and/or liberal, and I view 3rd-party voters negatively 28 65.12%
I am a Republican and/or conservative, and I view 3rd-party voters positively 6 13.95%
I am a Republican and/or conservative, and I view 3rd-party voters negatively 2 4.65%
Voters: 43. You may not vote on this poll

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  #1  
Old 03-27-2019, 01:30 PM
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How do you feel about 3rd-party voters?


Generally, it seems that the losing party views third-party voters more negatively - Republicans after 1992, and Democrats in 2000 and 2016. But - just a quick poll to gauge opinions here.
  #2  
Old 03-27-2019, 01:34 PM
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Third-party voting, rather than voters, is important because it shows a sense of civic engagement not trapped by the two-party apparatus, with which the political class can & possibly should reckon.

A hard third-party voter could end up an amusing irrelevancy.
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Old 03-27-2019, 01:36 PM
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I don't think you have the right options here. There's a large group of independent voters, for example.
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Old 03-27-2019, 01:43 PM
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I don't fit any of your options but I don't care if you vote for a 3rd party or not. First of all, I have no way of knowing whether anyone votes 3rd party or not. After that, everyone has the right to vote for whoever they want even if it's the wrong candidate because that's what democracy is about.
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Old 03-27-2019, 03:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Sunny Daze View Post
I don't think you have the right options here. There's a large group of independent voters, for example.
I'm one of them. I often will vote a split ticket between the major parties, and sometimes go third party, as I did in 2016. Trump and Hillary are both horrible people unworthy of my vote.

As a practical matter, my vote is irrelevant. I live in a very red state. This state's electoral votes are going GOP no matter what. All I can really accomplish is maybe helping a third party get established.
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Old 03-27-2019, 05:15 PM
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Depends on the race and the situation. If the third-party candidate has an actual shot at winning the election (like, say, Teddy Roosevelt in 1912, or some state / local races today), I'm all for it, as long as the candidate doesn't stand for something particularly vile. If the candidate doesn't have a chance to win the election but the election is not projected to be close, I think it's essentially harmless. I wouldn't do it myself, but I don't think there's anything wrong with voting for the Libertarian candidate in a presidential election if you live in Massachusetts or Idaho. If the major party you prefer is not running a candidate at all (also common in state and local races), voting for a third-party candidate makes sense, and I have done this on a number of occasions.

If the election is actually competitive between the two major-party candidates, voting for a third-party candidate is irresponsible, counterproductive, and damned stupid. Pick the major-party candidate who comes closest to representing your views, even if it is not very close, and shut up.
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Old 03-27-2019, 05:40 PM
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I'm in favor of changing the voting system in such a way that third-party voting is no longer a waste. As it is now, there are some situations where voting third party makes sense, but they are very, very rare.
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Old 03-27-2019, 06:43 PM
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Depends on the race and situation. A democrat who votes green who lives in a swing district I don't like. However I do like it when a republican in a swing district votes libertarian.

We need ranked choice voting or some other system other than the current one which would allow people to vote their conscience w/o empowering the party they do not like.
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Old 03-27-2019, 07:16 PM
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Originally Posted by TriPolar View Post
I don't fit any of your options but I don't care if you vote for a 3rd party or not. First of all, I have no way of knowing whether anyone votes 3rd party or not. After that, everyone has the right to vote for whoever they want even if it's the wrong candidate because that's what democracy is about.
For me, I add: anything that gets people out to vote is a good thing, even if they don't vote the way I would like them to. I'd much rather that someone vote third party (or even against a candidate I like) than that they stay home.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fretful Porpentine View Post
If the election is actually competitive between the two major-party candidates, voting for a third-party candidate is irresponsible, counterproductive, and damned stupid. Pick the major-party candidate who comes closest to representing your views, even if it is not very close, and shut up.
Why should someone have to pick the lesser of 2 evils, if there is a candidate they actually like? Your "irresponsible, counterproductive, and damned stupid" vote is my statement. Maybe if more of us were willing to vote third party, we could break out of the two party gridlock we are stuck in.
  #10  
Old 03-27-2019, 07:24 PM
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I'm in favor of changing the voting system in such a way that third-party voting is no longer a waste. As it is now, there are some situations where voting third party makes sense, but they are very, very rare.
I disagree. If you live in a district where there's greater than 99% chance that one candidate or the other will win, then a third party vote isn't pissing in the wind; rather, it can display a hunger for having certain issues addressed, and that display may prove significant in the next election.

But I've got guidelines for third parties, my 10-20-30 rule.

1) Run only in local elections until you control 10% of a locality. Then run in local and state legislative elections.
2) Run only local and state until you control at least 20% of the state legislature. Then run for congress and senate and governorship.
3) Run only in these races until you control at least 30% of these major offices. Once you've got 30% of the senate, or 30% of the governors, you're ready for prime time, and should run a presidential candidate--but not until.
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Old 03-27-2019, 11:19 PM
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Where I live we just had a first-past-the-post general election with 24 political parties on the ballot! Since many of these parties are allied with each other, it sure seems that merging would have improved their chances. (But in addition to constituencies, party lists were up for grabs. Stay tuned as controversy will continue till the final counts ... and beyond!)

I like the idea of multiple parties in general, especially when there is some proportional representation scheme.

But in today's America, the thought of voting a 3rd party is absolutely disgusting (unless it's in a race so lopsided that wasting a vote is irrelevant). One can understand stupid people voting for the Stupid Party. But it's disheartening to imagine someone involved or aware enough to consider a 3rd party, but then completely miss the most obvious feature of America's present partisan split.
  #12  
Old 03-28-2019, 01:18 AM
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So far in this poll, liberals view third-party voters negatively, by a ratio of 6-to-1. Conservatives view third-party voters positively, by a ratio of 3-to-1.
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Old 03-28-2019, 02:11 AM
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Whenever things are even remotely close, third party voting is irrational. Your person can't win, and you've given up any chance at influence. There is never a case where the two candidates who can win are equal. And as long as there is one that is even marginally better than the other, it makes more sense to vote for them, simply to avoid the worst candidate.

There is nothing gained in standing on some sort of principle. You didn't vote for Trump or Clinton. How did that make anything better? All it does is give you something to be smug about.

The only times it's okay is when the actual percentage gap is wide enough that the least worst side will win, or when a third party is actually viable. At any other point, it's just wrong.

And, yes, it did take Trump for me to realize this, but this isn't a belief that will change if we win. It's something I've thought about for a while since then, and I can't see any valid reason for it. I think the whole "don't want to vote for the lesser of two evils" mantra was designed to help Trump.

The only reason I'm not usually this direct or fervent about it is that I worry it will become a perverse incentive to do the opposite. Being told something is wrong that you want to do is a great way to make the right kind of person want to do it more.

But I figure I'm among smart people here and can just give my strong opinion openly.
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Old 03-28-2019, 07:05 AM
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I think of the ship of state like a Roman galley. On one side you have Democrats furiously rowing to push the ship to the left and on the other side you have Republicans furiously rowing to push the ship to the right. Third parties are like kegs of beer on the deck tempting people to stop rowing and just get wasted.

Whether by accident or design, the US is and always will be a two party system. So if the parties don't represent your values, then pick the one that aligns closest and then work within it to bring about the change you want. Joining a crackpot party doesn't help anybody.
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Old 03-28-2019, 07:21 AM
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In principal I view third parties (and forth parties, and fifth parties....) as a positive. I admire non-US systems with the many parties that on can align with. With the US two party system one is confronted with the unfortunate binary choice, and the probability that by choosing, one is promoting/supporting platforms one doesn't actually agree with.

However, as a practical matter, I acknowledge that in our curious tendency to align at exactly 50/50 in national voting a third party can act as a spoiler. And that is a reason to view them as a negative.

And it is fairly obvious that if folks on the Right had been on losing end of their presence over the last few cycles, they would be saying they were a negative.

So, in principal - positive.
As a practical matter, in our current environment - negative.
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Old 03-28-2019, 07:21 AM
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I think we need more choices. I'd rather see someone go out and vote for a 3rd party candidate than just stay home and not vote at all, which is what a lot of people do when they believe that neither candidate is any good.

Besides, if a 3rd party candidate can get into double digits in terms of votes, it will get the attention of both major parties, and more variety and flexibility in their platforms/policies may be the result.
  #17  
Old 03-28-2019, 08:50 AM
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Originally Posted by Velocity View Post
So far in this poll, liberals view third-party voters negatively, by a ratio of 6-to-1. Conservatives view third-party voters positively, by a ratio of 3-to-1.
Perhaps because 3rd party voters help Republicans win elections?
  #18  
Old 03-28-2019, 09:03 AM
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Depends on the race and situation. A democrat who votes green who lives in a swing district I don't like. However I do like it when a republican in a swing district votes libertarian.

We need ranked choice voting or some other system other than the current one which would allow people to vote their conscience w/o empowering the party they do not like.
This! I wish we could move to a ranked or transferable voting system.
  #19  
Old 03-28-2019, 09:40 AM
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Quoth Left Hand of Dorkness:

I disagree. If you live in a district where there's greater than 99% chance that one candidate or the other will win, then a third party vote isn't pissing in the wind; rather, it can display a hunger for having certain issues addressed, and that display may prove significant in the next election.
In that situation, voting third party is harmless, but still not productive: If the seat is that safe for one party, they have no reason to heed the folks voting third party. The only case where it's actually productive is when there's some issue that genuinely isn't addressed at all by either major party, and you consider the issue to be more important than what differences there are between the parties, and the race is close enough to matter. In that case, a third party based on that single issue can get the message to the major parties that there are votes available to be won to whichever party adopts that position. Note that a success in this regard results in the third party falling apart after only a single election.

But that is incredibly rare in the modern US.
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Old 03-28-2019, 11:03 AM
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This poll doesn’t capture how most people probably feel - that they are fine with third party voters that draw votes from the opposing party. Sign me up for ranked choice - first past the post is just absurd.
  #21  
Old 03-28-2019, 11:11 AM
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Agreed, the poll is flawed.

In general, I don't care if someone votes for a third party. But if a person votes for their perfect candidate who has zero chance of winning, and thereby contributes to the win of a candidate they hate, at the expense of a candidate they feel meh about, I think that person is making a big mistake. But such situations are fairly rare, which is why I don't really care very much.
  #22  
Old 03-28-2019, 11:14 AM
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I'm generally indifferent, and that isn't included in the poll.

I would very much like to break up the 2 party system though, via any mechanism that doesn't violate the constitution.

I am a registered independent.

Last edited by Ashtura; 03-28-2019 at 11:14 AM.
  #23  
Old 03-28-2019, 11:15 AM
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Originally Posted by KidCharlemagne View Post
This poll doesn’t capture how most people probably feel - that they are fine with third party voters that draw votes from the opposing party. Sign me up for ranked choice - first past the post is just absurd.
Right, but, in general - at least from what I've seen - liberals are far likelier to believe that 3rd party voters siphon away votes from their side than conservatives are. I think that explains why in this poll most liberals look unfavorably on 3rd-party voters while conservatives don't mind them.

Last edited by Velocity; 03-28-2019 at 11:16 AM.
  #24  
Old 03-28-2019, 11:19 AM
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Right, but, in general - at least from what I've seen - liberals are far likelier to believe that 3rd party voters siphon away votes from their side than conservatives are. I think that explains why in this poll most liberals look unfavorably on 3rd-party voters while conservatives don't mind them.
Like Ralph Nader allowed W to sneak in.
  #25  
Old 03-28-2019, 11:20 AM
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Another dynamic that is at play is that, IMHO, generally Republicans consider you to be "okay" as long as you don't vote for the D's. So if you vote Republican, third party or don't vote at all, you're "okay."

But in the Trump era, Democrats only consider you "okay" if you vote D. If you vote Republican, third party, or don't vote, then you are not "okay."

Last edited by Velocity; 03-28-2019 at 11:22 AM.
  #26  
Old 03-28-2019, 11:46 AM
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If you mean "someone who actively works on multiple levels to try to make 3rd parties viable" then I think it's an important function of the political process. If you mean "people who once every 4 years think they're making some kind of protest statement that the main parties suck" I say grow up (I fell for that in 2000, but grew up).
  #27  
Old 03-28-2019, 12:42 PM
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Third party would be less problematic in my view were it not for the presidency, as in the case of a parliamentary government. In a presidential/parliamentarian government, though, I think it just makes political obstruction more functional. I'll confess that I just whipped this opinion out of my rectum and probably haven't given the subject its proper rigor.

Last edited by asahi; 03-28-2019 at 12:43 PM.
  #28  
Old 03-28-2019, 03:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Fretful Porpentine View Post
Depends on the race and the situation. If the third-party candidate has an actual shot at winning the election (like, say, Teddy Roosevelt in 1912, or some state / local races today), I'm all for it, as long as the candidate doesn't stand for something particularly vile. If the candidate doesn't have a chance to win the election but the election is not projected to be close, I think it's essentially harmless. I wouldn't do it myself, but I don't think there's anything wrong with voting for the Libertarian candidate in a presidential election if you live in Massachusetts or Idaho. If the major party you prefer is not running a candidate at all (also common in state and local races), voting for a third-party candidate makes sense, and I have done this on a number of occasions.

If the election is actually competitive between the two major-party candidates, voting for a third-party candidate is irresponsible, counterproductive, and damned stupid. Pick the major-party candidate who comes closest to representing your views, even if it is not very close, and shut up.
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