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Measuring the Spoiler effect, 2004

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On Sunday, February 24th, Ralph Nader jumped into the race for President. I've heard a lot of radio hosts claim or at least imply that he might be a spoiler in the 2008 election. So I did some research.

The following table lists the counties in the 2004 election where the difference between the Democratic Vote and Republican Vote was less than the number of votes for other candidates. I'll need to break out how many of those votes were actually for Mr. Nader, since it is a sum of all "other" candidates on the ballot.

County John Kerry # John Kerry % George W. Bush # George Bush % Other # Other % Total Diff D-R % Diff D-R #  % Spoiler
Chatham County, North Carolina 12897 49.75% 12892 49.73% 133 0.51% 25922 0.02% 5 2660.00%
Nelson County, Virginia 3543 49.63% 3539 49.57% 57 0.80% 7139 0.06% 4 1425.00%
Penobscot County, Maine 40417 49.22% 40318 49.10% 1377 1.68% 82112 0.12% 99 1390.91%
Arenac County, Michigan 4076 49.61% 4071 49.55% 69 0.84% 8216 0.06% 5 1380.00%
Mono County, California 2628 49.23% 2621 49.10% 89 1.67% 5338 0.13% 7 1271.43%
Peoria County, Illinois 41121 49.68% 41051 49.60% 599 0.72% 82771 0.08% 70 855.71%
Danville, Virginia 9436 49.37% 9399 49.18% 277 1.45% 19112 0.19% 37 748.65%
Magoffin County, Kentucky 2843 49.72% 2836 49.60% 39 0.68% 5718 0.12% 7 557.14%
Sacramento County, California 236657 49.52% 235539 49.29% 5670 1.19% 477866 0.23% 1118 507.16%
Niagara County, New York 47602 49.29% 47111 48.78% 1867 1.93% 96580 0.51% 491 380.24%
Winneshiek County, Iowa 5354 49.65% 5324 49.37% 106 0.98% 10784 0.28% 30 353.33%
Chatham County, Georgia 45630 49.81% 45484 49.65% 493 0.54% 91607 0.16% 146 337.67%
LaPorte County, Indiana 21114 49.56% 20916 49.09% 576 1.35% 42606 0.47% 198 290.91%
Price County, Wisconsin 4349 49.63% 4312 49.21% 102 1.16% 8763 0.42% 37 275.68%
Tensas Parish, Louisiana 1468 49.56% 1453 49.05% 41 1.38% 2962 0.51% 15 273.33%
Orange County, Florida 193354 49.83% 192539 49.62% 2151 0.55% 388044 0.21% 815 263.93%
Russell County, Alabama 8375 49.82% 8337 49.60% 97 0.58% 16809 0.22% 38 255.26%
Nicollet County, Minnesota 8797 49.59% 8689 48.98% 255 1.44% 17741 0.61% 108 236.11%
Monroe County, Florida 19654 49.71% 19467 49.24% 414 1.05% 39535 0.47% 187 221.39%
Oakland County, Michigan 319387 49.75% 316633 49.32% 5957 0.93% 641977 0.43% 2754 216.30%
Suffolk County, New York 315909 49.46% 309949 48.53% 12854 2.01% 638712 0.93% 5960 215.67%
Tama County, Iowa 4487 49.85% 4456 49.51% 58 0.64% 9001 0.34% 31 187.10%
Prince Edward County, Virginia 3632 49.64% 3571 48.81% 113 1.54% 7316 0.83% 61 185.25%
Kittson County, Minnesota 1333 49.70% 1307 48.73% 42 1.57% 2682 0.97% 26 161.54%
Conejos County, Colorado 1894 49.80% 1864 49.01% 45 1.18% 3803 0.79% 30 150.00%
Fayette County, Iowa 5185 49.89% 5128 49.35% 79 0.76% 10392 0.54% 57 138.60%
Fillmore County, Minnesota 5825 49.79% 5694 48.67% 179 1.53% 11698 1.12% 131 136.64%
Pine County, Minnesota 7228 49.79% 7033 48.44% 257 1.77% 14518 1.35% 195 131.79%
Clay County, Tennessee 1675 49.90% 1650 49.15% 32 0.95% 3357 0.75% 25 128.00%
Rensselaer County, New York 36075 49.75% 34734 47.90% 1705 2.35% 72514 1.85% 1341 127.14%
Madison Parish, Louisiana 2334 49.95% 2291 49.03% 48 1.03% 4673 0.92% 43 111.63%
Benton County, Iowa 6747 49.97% 6658 49.31% 96 0.71% 13501 0.66% 89 107.87%
Poweshiek County, Iowa 5043 49.98% 4965 49.20% 83 0.82% 10091 0.78% 78 106.41%
Carbon County, Pennsylvania 12223 48.81% 12519 49.99% 301 1.20% 25043 -1.18% -296 -101.69%
Allamakee County, Iowa 3449 48.84% 3530 49.99% 83 1.18% 7062 -1.15% -81 -102.47%
Yellow Medicine County, Minnesota 2799 48.61% 2878 49.98% 81 1.41% 5758 -1.37% -79 -102.53%
Jefferson County, Missouri 46057 49.38% 46624 49.99% 583 0.63% 93264 -0.61% -567 -102.82%
Buncombe County, North Carolina 51868 49.39% 52491 49.99% 654 0.62% 105013 -0.60% -623 -104.98%
Huerfano County, Colorado 1663 48.88% 1700 49.97% 39 1.15% 3402 -1.09% -37 -105.41%
Washington County, Maine 8391 48.47% 8619 49.79% 300 1.73% 17310 -1.32% -228 -131.58%
Calhoun County, South Carolina 3390 49.02% 3447 49.85% 78 1.13% 6915 -0.83% -57 -136.84%
Marshall County, Iowa 9443 49.27% 9557 49.87% 164 0.86% 19164 -0.60% -114 -143.86%
Clare County, Michigan 6984 49.09% 7088 49.82% 154 1.08% 14226 -0.73% -104 -148.08%
Pemiscot County, Missouri 3381 49.68% 3398 49.93% 27 0.40% 6806 -0.25% -17 -158.82%
Latah County, Idaho 8430 48.03% 8686 49.48% 437 2.49% 17553 -1.45% -256 -170.70%
Washburn County, Wisconsin 4705 49.18% 4762 49.78% 100 1.05% 9567 -0.60% -57 -175.44%
St. Landry Parish, Louisiana 18162 49.41% 18314 49.83% 279 0.76% 36755 -0.42% -152 -183.55%
Grant County, Minnesota 1856 48.60% 1893 49.57% 70 1.83% 3819 -0.97% -37 -189.19%
Burke County, Georgia 4213 49.67% 4232 49.89% 37 0.44% 8482 -0.22% -19 -194.74%
Rockland County, New York 64191 48.91% 65130 49.63% 1910 1.46% 131231 -0.72% -939 -203.41%
Sullivan County, New York 15034 48.55% 15319 49.47% 613 1.98% 30966 -0.92% -285 -215.09%
Conway County, Arkansas 3982 49.26% 4009 49.59% 93 1.15% 8084 -0.33% -27 -344.44%
Hot Spring County, Arkansas 5901 48.91% 5960 49.40% 204 1.69% 12065 -0.49% -59 -345.76%
Cayuga County, New York 17534 48.64% 17743 49.22% 775 2.15% 36052 -0.58% -209 -370.81%
Boone County, Missouri 37643 49.50% 37801 49.71% 602 0.79% 76046 -0.21% -158 -381.01%
Manistee County, Michigan 6272 49.23% 6295 49.41% 173 1.36% 12740 -0.18% -23 -752.17%
Perry County, Indiana 4131 49.68% 4137 49.75% 47 0.57% 8315 -0.07% -6 -783.33%
Iron County, Michigan 3215 49.38% 3224 49.52% 72 1.11% 6511 -0.14% -9 -800.00%
Pinellas County, Florida 225460 49.51% 225686 49.56% 4211 0.92% 455357 -0.05% -226 -1863.27%
Marion County, South Carolina 2071 49.40% 2073 49.45% 48 1.15% 4192 -0.05% -2 -2400.00%
Chester County, South Carolina 5200 49.38% 5205 49.43% 126 1.20% 10531 -0.05% -5 -2520.00%
Pope County, Minnesota 3301 49.27% 3303 49.30% 96 1.43% 6700 -0.03% -2 -4800.00%
Monroe County, Pennsylvania 27967 49.64% 27971 49.65% 404 0.72% 56342 -0.01% -4 -10100.00%

Ok, so let's break down these numbers. There are 63 counties on this list. 33 of these were won by John Kerry, and 30 were won by George Bush. The total number of counties that I have information about is 3113. So, 30/3113 is .009637. Less than 1% of counties were affected by the "spoiler effect" in 2004. The total number of votes that "helped" John Kerry is 21,722. The number of votes that "helped" George Bush is 17,444. So John Kerry was helped more by the "spoiler effect" overall than Bush was.

Still think Nader's candidacy is going to be a problem? I don't.

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