Nader Voters Do Favor Kerry

Nader Voters Do Favor Kerry

Survey finds risk of swaying election to Bush major concern of Nader backers


This poll was commissioned by The Nation Institute, a nonprofit foundation devoted to strenghtening the independent media. It was conducted by Lake Snell Perry. Click here to download the complete survey results in PDF format.

The first in-depth look at voters supporting Ralph Nader’s independent candidacy finds that Senator Kerry is their second choice by a three-to-one margin over President Bush. The survey, released today by The Nation Institute, found that Nader voters have extremely negative views about President Bush and that the risk of taking votes away from Senator Kerry is by far the most important reason they give for not voting for Nader.

The survey was conducted last week by Lake Snell Perry & Associates in eight key battleground states in which Nader is on the ballot. It found that about a third of Nader supporters think Senator Kerry would do a better job than Nader on their highest priority issues – health care, jobs and the economy, and Iraq. The poll also explodes several myths about Nader supporters.

“With everyone predicting an extremely tight presidential race, it’s clear that the Nader voter could be a factor in key battleground states,” said Hamilton Fish, the President of The Nation Institute. “We wanted to get a better sense of who the Nader supporters are, how they think, and what moves them.”

The survey was conducted in Florida, Iowa, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, West Virginia, for The Nation Institute, a public foundation dedicated to an independent, free press.

“These findings give us a clearer picture of the Nader voters of 2004,” said pollster Celinda Lake. “They are very different than his 2000 supporters. They’re weighing the risks of taking votes away from Kerry. And there are clear indications that they’d be susceptible to messages from Kerry on their top issues.”

Among the key findings of the Lake Snell Perry/Nation Institute poll are:

  • One-third of Nader voters don’t have a second choice for president, but the two-thirds who do pick Kerry over Bush by 49-17 percent, with 11 percent undecided.
  • The Nader voters strongly disapprove of the job Bush has done as President, with only 16 percent approving and 81 percent disapproving. The number one reason they volunteered for not voting for Nader is that it could keep the President in office or take votes away from Kerry, which was cited by 35 percent. The second distant choice was that Nader can’t win, given by 10 percent.
  • The Nader voters of 2004 appear to be much different than those of 2000. There are virtually no first-time voters, only six percent, and an overwhelming 71 percent say they’d vote even if Nader was not on the ballot. Moderates outnumber liberals by two to one (56-26 percent), there are more non-college educated than college educated, and very few under the age of 30.
  • Their top concerns are the economy and jobs (cited by 35 percent), followed by health care and prescription drugs (31 percent), and the war in Iraq (24 percent). Only 10 percent say terrorism is among their top concerns. Interestingly, when asked who among Bush, Kerry, and Nader would do a better job on specific issues, about one-third of Nader voters say Kerry would do the best job on their top three issues, 32 percent saying he would on health care, 30 percent on the economy and jobs, and 28 percent on Iraq.
  • As expected, these voters think very highly of Nader, giving him a mean favorable rating of 77 on a 100-point scale (compared to a 28 for Bush and 42 for Kerry).

The survey was conducted October 17-19 of 500 registered voters (including 300 Nader voters and 200 who like Nader but are undecided or weak Kerry supporters). It has a margin of error of +/- 4.4 percent.

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