Nader's Flawed Calculus
Nichols, John, The Nation
From the start of his independent campaign for the presidency early this year, Ralph Nader constantly argued that he would draw as many or more votes from Republican George W. Bush as from John Kerry, the President's Democratic challenger. Yet Nader's calculus looks to be off. If Nader were not on the ballot in key battleground states, according to a poll conducted for The Nation Institute, nearly three times as many of his backers in those states would vote for Kerry as for Bush: some 49 percent of those surveyed said they would switch to Kerry, compared with 17 percent for Bush. According to the poll, conducted by Lake Snell Perry & Associates, 24 percent said they were unsure what they would do, while 10 percent indicated that they would not vote.
In response to the poll findings, Nader continued to insist a few days before the election that he would draw more votes from Republicans than Democrats. But Democrats and progressive activists expressed concern that a small number of votes for Nader could tip important battleground states to Bush. They fear a repeat of 2000, when a number of states were decided for Bush by margins of less than 1 percent. …