Paul, Bloomberg Would Hurt Republicans More Than Democratsby Doug Mataconis
A new Rasmussen Reports poll seems to suggest that third-party runs by Michael Bloomberg and Ron Paul would hurt Republicans more than Democrats in the General Election:
In a head-to-head match-up between Romney and Obama, Obama currently leads by nine percentage points. When Bloomberg and Paul are added to the list of possible candidates, Obama’s lead grows to twelve points, 42% to 30%. Paul attracts 8% of the vote, Bloomberg 6%.
Hillary Clinton leads Romney by five in a head-to-head match-up, but her lead grows to fourteen points with Bloomberg and Paul in the mix—Clinton 46% Romney 32% Bloomberg 7% Paul 7%.
In a McCain-Obama poll, the Democrat leads by five. That grows to seven points with the third party options—Obama 40% McCain 33% Paul 11% Bloomberg 5%.
The pair of third party candidates attract from 13% to 17% of Republicans in each match-up. They earn only 5% to 10% of the Democratic vote.
This is, of course, merely a snapshot in time and doesn’t necessarily reflect how things will pan out in November.
If Bloomberg does get into the race — by no means a given at this point — he is likely to do a lot better than he’s polling right now largely because he has the financial means to get his message, whatever it is, out to the public. That is going to pay off with increased support.
With Ron Paul, on the other hand, I think the numbers he’s polling here actually over state what he’d get in a General Election campaign. I get the sense that Ron Paul’s campaign peaked with the December money bombs. Except for finishing a distant second in Nevada, he hasn’t done better than fourth place in any contest yet and actually did worse in Florida than he’s done anywhere else. Oh, his core supporters will follow him to the gates of hell if necessary, but they aren’t going to be enough to get him more than maybe 3 or 4 percent of the vote in a heavily contested nationwide election with high turnout, which is what I expect we’ll see in November.
Of the two, the Republicans need to worry about Bloomberg far more than Paul at this point. Paul’s supporters aren’t going to vote for McCain anyway, so the fact that they might vote for Paul if he runs as an independent isn’t going to change things significantly. Bloomberg, on the other hand, has the potential to pull away large numbers of moderate independents that might otherwise vote for McCain.