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?

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It’s not as if it hasn’t happened before. In 2008 Libertarian Party candidate Bob Barr siphoned off enough conservative votes in North Carolina to give that  historically Republican state to Obama. In 1912, Theodore Roosevelt’s Bull Moose Party drew away hundreds of thousands of voters who would have supported incumbent William Howard Taft. With the Republican vote split between Teddy and Taft, Democrat Woodrow Wilson won with only 41 percent of the vote.

“Third party candidates can’t win, but they can continue to divide,” notes J.B. Williams of the website Conservative Crusader. So, don’t think that a third-party candidacy isn’t a vital part of election planning this time around.

“Most Americans have never heard of Virgil Goode, a former party-switching congressman with a distinctive Virginia drawl who conceivably could decide the presidential election,” writes Jim Kuhnhenn for the Huntington Post. “But he is well known to President Barack Obama’s team of political advisers.”

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“Virgil Goode was a Democrat, an independent and a Republican before being nominated as the Constitution Party’s nominee for

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.

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Rob Kerby, Senior Editor
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