Why does the liberal vote tend to split?

I think I see this every election year. A 3-way race between a Democrat, a Republican, and a liberal independent. The conservatives all vote for the man with an R after his name, while liberals split between the democrat and independent. This always leads to a lot of anger when the republican wins. Why do the liberals always split, and why are there never conservative independents?

You may be just most focused on the races that are most frustrating for you. This year, for instance, there were two Republicans who split the vote in Louisiana against Landrieu, so there will be a recall. There was a Libertarian candidate in North Carolina whom many thought would be a spoiler for the Republican candidate.

Emphasis added. Runoff. :wink:

No snark intended:

Who were the liberal independents this year?

The few independents that I noticed were either Tea Party or Libertarians…

QUOTE=mlees;17876439]No snark intended:

Who were the liberal independents this year?

The few independents that I noticed were either Tea Party or Libertarians…

Maybe this is a Maine thing. This year Paul Lepage was re-elected governor because the vote split between Eliot Cutler (I) and Mike Michaud(D). Last time we had an election for governor, Lepage was elected with 39%, which barely beat Cutler, and the democrati in that election(Libby Mitchell) failed miserably.

Wasn’t one of the big reasons we got Clinton as President because Perot took a chunk of the traditional Republican votes?

Isn’t it the case that any time a third party candidate even gets noticed in an American campaign, there’s a possibility he or she will drain more votes from one major party than the other?
You guys really need a viable third party of some kind, either to the right or the left of the Republocrats.

Same thing with how we got Bush with Pat Buchanon siphoning off Gore votes in Florida. Although in that case not intentionally. The ballots were screwed up and voters intending to vote for Gore ended up voting Buchanon.

No, a viable third party in America would have to be between the two.

The Reform Party might have done it – but Perot would not allow it to be anything more than his own permanent campaign organization. It was always an ideologically incoherent coalition anyway.

Indeed. I completely disagree with the OP’s hypothesis. It entirely depends on who the third candidate is. A Libertarian or Constitution Party candidate will tend to siphon votes away from the Republican, while a Green or Socialist candidate will siphon votes away from a Democrat.

I won’t swear by it, but I believe Perot took more a bit votes from Democrats than from Republicans.

So were the Democrats, back when they still had the Dixiecrat element.

If you include “intentionally” (and for purposes of this thread there’s no reason not to), Buchanon undoubtedly siphoned off a lot more Bush votes than Gore ones, in FL and elsewhere.

Yeah, but they had major-party status from way back. A viable new third party in America would probably have to be the right of the Dems and the left of the Pubs. Any party left of the Dems or right of the Pubs would be doomed to marginality; and, yes, that does include both the Libertarians and the Greens, even if their positions on the left-right spectrum are debatable.

Like a few others mentioned, I think the idea that a third part candidate will siphon votes from Democrats rather than Republicans is more an artifact of where you are and how active the various third parties are.

Here in Virginia, the Libertarian party is easily the most active, and usually received a few percent of the vote. In fact, looking at the election for Senator on Tuesday, Mark Warner (D) only beat Ed Gillespie ® by 0.77% but Robert Sarvis (L) got 2.45% of the vote. I can’t speak for all Libertarian voters but, gun to my head, if I had to vote for a Democrat or a Republican, I’m probably more likely to vote Republican (though I have voted for both), and that’s probably true for more Libertarian voters than not. As such, I think it’s not unreasonable to postulate that, had Robert Sarvis not run, it’s likely Ed Gillespie would have won instead of Mark Warner.

And as an interesting sidenote, in last year’s governor race, both Cuccinelli ® and McAuliffe (D) were poorly received candidates and McAuliffe won by 2.5% of the vote, but Robert Sarvis got 6.6%, so it’s probably fair to say he could have been a spoiler in that election too, particularly because both candidates were so unpalatable, so more people were willing to go third party.

Either way, this is why I’d be more strongly in favor of some election reform. Maybe something like Single Transferable Voting or Instant Run-Offs or the like. With these sorts of systems, people can feel free to vote for who they really want first, and if they’re going to lose anyway, not be disappointed that their second choice lost to a highly undesirable alternative. Personally, I think it would take some stigma off of voting third party, so more would do it and could express their true desire, but not be “siphoning” votes from a major party. Hell, maybe if we could see where the first votes were and see it might be even higher, it would help either grow third parties or at least help the major parties adjust their platforms to be more attractive to those who still prefer other parties.

I don’t see anything like that happening any time soon, though, since it would probably hurt both major parties. Why would they ever look at implementing a system that’s unfavorable to both?