How could a Third Party candidate affect Barack Obama's chances at the polls?

Repeatedly in U.S. history, maverick contenders such as Virgil Goode have unintentionally handed the White House to the underdog. Could it happen again?

BY: Rob Kerby, Senior Editor

 

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president,” writes Robert Gehrke for the Salt Lake Tribune.  “Come November, he could be wearing a different label: spoiler.”

Virgil Goode

It is in “Goode’s home state of Virginia where he could give the Romney campaign migraines,” notes Gehrke.  “A recent poll by Public Policy Polling, a Democratic firm, said that if Goode qualifies for the ballot in Virginia, he could draw 9 percent of the vote, nearly all of it coming from Romney supporters.

“It could be devastating to the Romney campaign in a battleground state with 13 electoral votes that Romney will likely need in his column if he is to win the White House.”

“Within the Obama camp, he is considered one of two who could tilt the race by pulling votes away from Romney,” writes Kuhnhenn. The other is Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson, a former two-term Republican governor of New Mexico whose presence on the ballot could make a difference in the presidential contest in states such as New Mexico and Colorado.”

Together, Virginia, New Mexico and Colorado have 26 votes in the Electoral College. Winning any one of them would have won Gore the presidency.  Denying Romney any one of them could keep Obama in the White House.

Mitt Romney

A senior Obama campaign official, speaking to the Associated Press on the condition of anonymity to discuss campaign thinking, pointed to polls that show Obama voters having greater enthusiasm for their candidate than do Romney voters. That means Romney voters could switch allegiance to Virgil Goode more easily.

"Goode is running for president on the Constitution Party ticket, and his candidacy has Republicans sweating," writes Elizabeth Diaz for Time magazine. "Goode is pulling fully 9 percent of Virginia’s vote, according to a mid-July Public Policy Polling survey, leaving Obama ahead of Romney 49 percent to 35 percent. In a tight election where Virginia’s 13 electoral college votes could make or break the Romney’s candidacy, even 2 percent for Goode could pull enough Republicans away to hand the historically red state to Obama in November.

Barack Obama

"Goode could easily maintain at least a few percentage points in Virginia through the fall. He remains a popular local figure who served

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