Some, like your author of this blog, argued that fiscal Conservatives could have gotten upset and voted for a third party. McCain was no where near the perfect Republican candidate and was even further away from the fiscal Conservative’s perfect candidate.
Bob Barr was the libertarian candidate who was a former Congressman and Chuck Baldwin was the Constitution Party candidate and was endorsed by Congressman Ron Paul. Here we are going to look at states that were close and see if the Barr/Baldwin campaigns had any effect. Now since this was hard to compare and I do not have the time to figure out the base of these two parties we are just going to assume that many of the people would have voted for McCain had they not ran. But we must subtract Nader’s numbers too, if he did not run it would balance out.
Virginia – Conclusion (None)
- Difference between Obama/McCain:155,627
- Barr/Baldwin Effect: 17,719 (No need to subtract Nader)
North Carolina – Conclusion (Win possible Republican +15)
- Diff: Obama/McCain: 12,163
- Barr (Only 3P on ballot) Effect: 25, 181
Florida – Conclusion (Nader>Barr/Baldwin so None)
- Diff: Obama/McCain: 189,777
- Barr/Baldwin Effect: 24,229 (Nader was greater so this had a small Nader Effect
Indiana (Conclusion possible Republican + 11)
- Diff: Obama/McCain: 26,163
- Barr (Only 3p on ballot) Effect: 29,186
Missouri and Montana is possible that McCain’s gain would have been bigger without a Barr/Baldwin Effect.
What does this mean? First, it means that if the Republican Party picked a more fiscally Conservative person it is possible they could have picked up 26 electoral votes. That would still only give the Republican candidate 189 which is not enough to win.
What does this actually means? It actually means that Barack Obama vs. A fiscally Conservative Republican (FCR) is hard to measure. This is because had a FCR been picked, he/she could have spent less time campaigning in the two states above. It is also possible that he/she would have movtivated people more. The downside is that libertarians always run and so does the Constitution Party. This means that they could only get some and not all of the votes.
You could imagine that if a good FCR got elected then the Libertarian candidate would have been less strong and popular. I doubt you would have had a former Congressman. Also the Constitution Party would get almost no votes because Congressman Ron Paul would not have endorse him.
To summarize, there are way to many “buts” and “ifs” but it does not look like fiscal Conservatives did a good job at punishing Republicans for their moderate pick. The argument could be made that they stayed home or didn’t work as hard. I could imagine that there were a lot of people who would have put bumper stickers and yard signs up, that didn’t and only voted for McCain as a lesser of two evils. But the realistic view is there is no way to measure it.
So I ask you fiscal Conservatives/Libertarians, how do we get the Republican Party back to it’s roots?