Thursday, November 6, 2008

Moving in the Right Direction

When I first looked at Tuesday's poll results I wasn't very happy with what I saw. Nationally, Bob Barr didn't do nearly as well as anticipated. In Virginia, he did even worse. In Fairfax County, Barr's vote total and percentage were both much lower than the LP ticket from 2004. Barr received 1,253 votes, which is only .28% of all votes cast in the county this year. In 2004, Badnarik received 1,743 votes, which is .37% of votes cast that year. Any way you look at them, these are pretty lousy results.

So, if I had just stopped there, I would have nothing to feel good about. Fortunately, I dug much deeper, and here is what I found:

Bob Barr received about 30% fewer votes than Badnarik in Fairfax County. However, in the precincts that we targeted with canvassing efforts, yard signs, and sample ballots, the results were much better. In the Lake Braddock precinct the LP presidential ticket received 113% more votes than in 2004. In the Signal Hill precinct, the ticket received 38% more votes than in 2004. These increases are great, and seem even better when you consider that the county as a whole cast far fewer votes for the LP ticket.

As for Bill Redpath, he received 2,454 votes in Fairfax County - about twice as many votes as Barr. He also received substantially more votes in our two target precincts than he did in other similar precincts. Unfortunately, we don't have any previous results to measure against, but it looks as though our efforts paid off for the Redpath campaign too.

Now, I know that this is not a scientific comparison. There are many factors that could have caused the increase in LP votes in these two precincts. However, it seems likely that our money and hard work may have paid off. At least, that's what I'm going with.


  1. It seems to me that new member outreach should be a major focus for the next year.

  2. Adding to your observations about the election: I was very encouraged while campaigning at the polling places. People were at least surprised, if not happy, to see a third-party sample ballot. I had nothing but positive reaction from voters.
    Another thing that seems encouraging to me is that while neither Barr nor Redpath did as well as I would have liked, you can see that the votes Redpath got were not just from "ticket Libertarian" voters. He did much better than Barr did in our area. So, some of the people that voted for him were voting for someone else at the top of the ticket.
    We should also keep in mind that while the overall numbers are obviously disappointing-- this was a HUGE election! People were very passionate about getting the Republicans out of there and Republicans felt they had to defend against that. So-- I'd think that a lot of those Redpath voters may have also been Barr voters under different circumstances.
    I'm excited and encouraged about the upcoming ear for LPNOVA and believe I have a lot of good ideas and strategies we should discuss at the convention!

  3. I certainly agree with Matt H's comment that we need to increase our numbers. I think that is always the main goal, as the more members we have the more we will be able to affect the political process. The question is; how do we do that?

  4. I would tend to agree with karacholko, in that this was a HUGE election. Many voters that would lean toward LP politics probably felt that they should back the Republicans this time.

    As for the future:
    I agree that the LP has to focus on new member outreach. I myself discovered (and then researched) the party on the Leesburg ticket the night before the election. Awareness is critical.

  5. A lot of our polling numbers were effected by so many people wanting the Republicans out of office, combined with the fact that we have not yet established ourselves as a viable third party. On the bright side, the lessons we have all learned this election cycle will pay dividends in the future. Local elections are only six months away. I propose we make note of these lessons learned, refocus, make adjustments, increase our active membership base and spread the word.

  6. I can tell you one thing that brought people out to meetings was being able to advertise that bill would be attending.

  7. I agree with Matt H - people are more likely to come out when the chairman of the LNC is expected to be there. However, I think we need to figure out how to make people want to attend for other reasons.

    I was also thinking about the results for Barr and Redpath, and I have another theory. The libertarian votes for President were likely split between Barr and Baldwin. However, there was no constitution party candidate running for Senate, so Redpath probably picked up most of those votes. When I was out at the polls on Tuesday I was told by at least one person that he would be voting this way.