NC: Libertarian Senate Candidate Mike Beitler Sees a Bump in the Polls Following First Debate of the Campaign Season

The reason why Democrats and Republicans seek to keep third party and independent candidates out of debates and candidate forums is rather simple: when voters recognize that there are indeed viable alternatives to the corporate shills of the major parties, they support them. Take the case of the US Senate race in North Carolina. There are at least three candidates in the contest: incumbent Republican Richard Burr, Democrat Elaine Marshall, and Libertarian Mike Beitler – in addition, Green Party candidate Richard Weir appears to be running a write-in campaign. Following up on yet another reader suggestion from the past week, I recently headed over to Libertarian Viewpoint, where Jonathan Raof happened to profile Beitler just a few days ago. Raof writes:
In the summer of 2009, Dr. Beitler was asked by the Chair of the Libertarian Party of North Carolina, Barbara Howe, to run for the 2010 nomination for U.S. Senate. Dr. Beitler gladly accepted the challenge. “It has been exciting to offer a political alternative to disenchanted Democrats and Republicans. With enough volunteers and donors, we can get America back on track in 2010″, Dr. Beitler says on his website . . .

As of June 27, 2010, SurveyUSA released a poll for the U.S. Senate race in North Carolina. The poll shows Republican incumbent Richard Burr at 50%, Democratic nominee Elaine Marshall at 40%, and Libertarian nominee Dr. Beitler at 6%, with 5% undecided. The numbers for Dr. Beitler need to go up, friends of North Carolina. The poll also shows that 4% of Republicans support Dr. Beitler, 3% of Democrats support him, and 12% of independent voters support him. The poll also breaks down the respondents by age and sex. . . .

recently, Dr. Beitler participated, in what may be a first for North Carolina politics, the first debate of the 2010 U.S. Senate election on June 26, 2010. The N.C. Bar Association sponsored the debate for ALL ballot qualified candidates in Wilmington which included our boy Dr. Beitler, incumbent Republican Richard Burr, and Democrat Elaine Marshall.
It appears that Beitler has received something of a post-debate bump in the polls. Earlier this week, Public Policy Polling released the results from a poll conducted the Monday after the weekend debate. While the survey from the week before – cited by Raof – found 6% support for Beitler, the PPP poll from the week after saw his popularity jump to 10%. Richard Winger reported at Ballot Access News:

On July 6, Public Policy Polling released a poll of the U.S. Senate race in North Carolina. It shows Republican Richard Burr, the incumbent, at 38%; Elaine Marshall, Democrat, 33%, Michael Beitler, Libertarian, 10%; undecided 20%. See the detailed results here.

The poll shows that Beitler gains support disproportionately from voters age 18-29 (18%), and secondarily from voters age 30-45 (12%). Voters over age 45 only give him 7% support. The poll also shows that Beitler draws 14% support from African-Americans. By party, 7% of Democrats support him; 4% of Republicans support him; and 26% of independent voters support him.
These results clearly debunk the myth that Libertarian candidates primarily draw their support from Republicans. Ironically, there are apparently more Democrats in North Carolina who support the Senate candidate who stands for small government and individual liberty than there are Republicans who do so. In addition, and more importantly, the results of this poll may well ensure that Beitler is included in future debates, as 10% support in a "neutral" poll is one criterion of inclusion in such forums for many media outlets.


Anonymous said...

You are so right when you say:

"These results clearly debunk the myth that Libertarian candidates primarily draw their support from Republicans. "

Great observation :)


Tom said...

Further (albeit early) evidence of "liberal" support for Libertarians comes from the 2008 gubernatorial election in North Carolina. Dr. Mike Munger found it easy to run to the left of the puppet put up by the Democrat Machine. He called for loosening restrictions on immigrants and was opposed to the notion that the State could preferentially give permission to marry. Polls then showed him with much more support from self identified liberals than from conservatives. This, despite his support for lowered taxes and business regulation.