In presidential elections, especially since 2000, it is a knee jerk reaction for members of the party that lost to blame third party and independent voters. After the results of election night, some Republicans blame Gary Johnson and other third party candidates for Mitt Romney’s loss in key battleground states.
Do Republicans have an argument to make?
99.5% of precincts reporting:
- Barack Obama – 1,852,123
- Mitt Romney – 1,745,397
- Gary Johnson – 30,003
- Virgil Goode – 13,442
- Jill Stein – 8,357
One of the biggest concerns for the Romney campaign was Virgil Goode’s impact on this race. Goode has only secured roughly .4% of the vote. It is Goode’s home state and Governor Johnson has more votes than he has. The difference between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney in Virginia is 106,726. Combined Johnson and Goode took a total of 43,445.
Verdict: Obama would still win Virginia.
99.7% of precincts reporting:
- Barack Obama – 2,672,302
- Mitt Romney – 2,571,539
- Gary Johnson – 48,672
- Jill Stein – 17,657
The difference between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney is 100,763. Gary Johnson did not even get half that.
Verdict: Obama would still win Ohio
76.8% of precincts reporting:
- Barack Obama – 1,199,142
- Mitt Romney – 1,100,186
- Gary Johnson – 30,821
- Jill Stein – 6,609
- Virgil Goode – 5,610
The difference between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney is 98,956. Of the battleground states, Gary Johnson is doing the best in Colorado, garnering 1.3% of the vote with just over three-quarters of the precincts reporting in. The state he is doing the best in is his home state, New Mexico, where he has 3.8% of the vote. Combined, Gary Johnson and Virgil Goode took 36,431 votes in Colorado.
Verdict: Obama would still win Colorado
100% of precincts reporting:
- Barack Obama – 4,129,360
- Mitt Romney – 4,083,321
- Gary Johnson – 43,479
- Jill Stein – 8,676
This is the closest race in the country, and election officials have stopped counting ballots in some areas. The difference between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney is 46,039. It is the closest Gary Johnson comes to matching the difference, but still the math doesn’t add up.
Verdict: Though the state has not been projected, no matter who wins it, third party candidates are not to blame for one candidate losing to another.
The argument that third party voters and independent voters who chose someone other than the mainstream candidates cost one candidate the election over the other stems from a partisan belief that a vote for a Gary Johnson, or a Jill Stein, or a Virgil Goode is a wasted vote.
It also stems from the belief that Gary Johnson supporters would have voted for Mitt Romney if Johnson was not in the race. Most people who voted for Governor Johnson did so because they genuinely supported him and his message. There is no guarantee those voters would have supported Mitt Romney if Johnson was not in the race.
The beauty of democracy in America is that everyone eligible to vote gets a vote. It may not be for the winning candidate. It may not be for a Republican or a Democrat. To the voter, however, it is their vote and if they are satisfied with their decision, then it is not a wasted vote.