Keep an eye on Sarvis

I’ve a little bit of a different take than Shaun on the relevance of Libertarian gubernatorial candidate Robert Sarvis’ showing in the PPP poll.

It’s a bit refreshing to see a bona fide third-party candidate tossed into the polling mix. It forces folks to pay at least some attention to messages and candidates they would otherwise prefer to ignore (and let us never forget that Russ Potts was included in gubernatorial polls through most of the 2005 campaign even though he never rose above the margin of error).

That Sarvis is polling seven percent according to PPP is quite a surprise. Has the Libertarian moment we’ve been told, repeatedly and for many years, finally arrive? No.

The last Libertarian gubernatorial candidate to appear on the ballot, Bill Redpath, earned .77 percent of the vote. Granted, that was twelve years ago and Virginia has changed markedly since then. But it has not become more Libertarian. Quite the opposite.

Sarvis’ numbers, then, may be nothing more than a trick of the light. Even so, I’ll keep an eye on them. If future surveys, from other pollsters, show him polling over five percent, it gives Sarvis an excellent case to demand inclusion in future gubernatorial debates. Being on stage with Ken Cuccinelli and Terry McAuliffe won’t make Sarvis governor. But it would shake things up. And Virginia’s political duopoly could use a good shake right about now…

  • On that much, it would be fantastic to have a debate with Sarvis in the mix… at least one, folks. Just give me one!

  • BrianKirwin

    Looking at crosstabs might help, but Sarvis might have gotten the same vote as John Doe would’ve in that poll, meaning 7% who don’t like either party’s candidate.

  • Alexis Rose Bank

    Cuccinelli is a fairly good candidate for libertarian-leaning Republicans – if 7% of the whole electorate now prefers the L candidate, that speaks to disaffection with the GOP brand rather than the candidates now running.

    Of that 7%, at least 5% is probably ex-GOP voters who took the GOP at its word on various issues (taxes, size/role of govt, etc.) and were burned. It has literally been easier for me to get ex-Democrats positively interested in the GOP than it is to get this group of ex-Republicans to come back.

    • Brad Froman

      Between Terry McAuliffe and Ken Cuccinelli, yes, Cuccinelli is probably a closer candidate to libertarian positions, but that’s not saying much. Libertarians are not going to have much in common with Cuccinelli’s social platform at all. But both Democrats and Republicans would be doing themselves a favor by opening their minds to more moderate ideals if they really want to represent the people of Virginia and the rest of the country the way they want to be represented.

      • Alexis Rose Bank

        The thing about “moderates” is they don’t have ideals, other than the ambition to wield power. After how the GOP has been wrecked by “moderates” during the post-Reagan era, I am no longer even willing to entertain the idea, even in compromise.

        “Moderate” has always been a code word for Republicans giving in to Democrat initiatives anyway. On issue after issue after issue, “moderate” Republicans side with Democrats, whereas the number of issues where they side with the bulk of their own party is far far smaller.

        We need constitutional conservatives who aren’t clueless idiots and understand that the government is not an appropriate venue for social initiatives, period – not for the Democrats and not for the GOP. The government is not the society and making it so has had nothing but negative effects on the body politic and the nation as a whole.

        • Brad Froman

          You are thinking only about moderates within either the Democratic or Republican parties, which you are right about. But if you think about moderates or centrists who are independent, I believe you will find a huge number of dissatisfied voters out there who have a a very pragmatic and sensible point of view of how Virginians, and the rest of America, want to move forward. Many of those fall into the libertarian category as well.

  • Fauquier Freedom Boner

    I think most libertardians hold beliefs and political views that go far beyond what an American public will ever share. Same with the tea baggers.

    • JordanAmbra

      Nice argument. Nailed it.

      In the meantime, I find that most people I talk with have a gripe about a few things that certain libertarians have said, but not much of a gripe with the overall platform: peace, personal freedom, and community responsibility.

  • Third Party?

    I agree, “Virginia‚Äôs political duopoly could use a good shake right about now.”

    Regardless, this and Shaun Kennedy’s blog fail to mention a stunning fact. Sarvis has been an official candidate since June 26, 2013, when the Virginia State Board of Elections recognized his candidacy. That means Sarvis is polling at 7% in less than a month! So no matter how much this blogger tries to downplay the Libertarian movement, it’s a shocking and significant statistic given the nature of this election.

    Even so: come election day, if Sarvis gets less than 7% of the vote but still manages to split the Cuccinelli-McAuliffe vote (who are currently in a statistical tie), a minor party candidate will change the political climate before the 2014 congressional elections. That’s kinda a big deal.

    On the other hand, if Sarvis gets more than 10% of the vote in November, the Libertarian Party of Virginia will have secured ballot access for the 2014 elections. That would allow them to compete and reallocate funding away from obtaining ballot access, which is costly, and focus on campaigning.

    Then the final outcome is… what if Sarvis gets in the debates and then against all odds wins? What kind of message would that send to the establishment not only in Richmond, but just up the road in DC?

    Virginia’s gubernatorial election just got a lot more interesting.

    Don’t count anything out.

    • MD Russ

      How many times did we hear that in the run-up to the 2012 elections about the candidacies of Jamie Radtke and Ron Paul? There is a pool of self-delusional people who believe in magic rainbows and unicorns. An equal number believe in Quixotic political movements. If you offered free ice cream to a random sample of people on a hot day, 7% would turn it down for no apparent reason. People are funny that way. But you will never in a million years get a majority of the people to refuse the ice cream. As for Savis polling at 7% in less than a month, in this election Rocky the Squirrel could poll at 7% if he was on the ballot as a Libertarian.

      • Third Party?

        Ah, good ol’ demagoguery… gotta love it.

        Yes, I’m delusional and believe in magic rainbows and unicorns. And yes, I’ll be sure to turn down that ice cream next time.

        I’ll also be sure to remind folks that “ad hominem” arguments like yours are disingenuous, at best.

        • MD Russ

          Demagoguery? Disingenuous? Tell you what, bub. If Sarvis breaks out of single digits in the general election, you’ll come back here and post the list of 770 foreign military bases that the Paulistinians and Libertarians love to claim that the US is maintaining. If Sarvis stays in single digits, then I will come back and post the list of the 88 foreign military bases we really maintain and you then have to tell us the name of the 89th one. How’s that for demagoguery? Deal?

          BTW, even if you counted every embassy Marine guard detachment as a “foreign military base,” you wouldn’t break 300.

          • Third Party?

            Yes, disingenuous. Yes, demagoguery.

            Also, nice “straw man” argument. Because how does anything about Ron or Rand Paul (who are paleoconservative Republicans) or 770 foreign military bases have to do with Sarvis polling at 7%?

            That’s like saying: ‘Don’t support Robert Sarvis, who is currently polling at 7%, because Ron Paul and/or Rand Paul claim there are 770 military bases!’

            I mean.. c’mon, really?

          • MD Russ

            If Ron and Rand Paul are Republicans than I am a Vulcan. Get serious.

            It is an article of faith for Libertarians that part of the reason the US has a budget deficit is because of our extensive military foreign deployments and stationing. And in typical Libertarian fashion, they try to sell that talking point with highly inflated and exaggerated claims that rise to the standard of a Damned Lie. That is hardly a straw man argument for not supporting a candidate who embraces and furthers those deceptions.

            It is all about character Third Party? Kind of like the same character it takes to post under your real name, something you wouldn’t know about. Speaking of which, by any chance are you Bob Sarvis?

          • Third Party?

            First, Ron and Rand Paul are Republicans.

            Second, if you’re going to submit a sentence declaring otherwise, you should look up “if… then” constructions: it’s not “if… than”.

            Third, if you’re going to talk about character, you should really look up privacy and security. It’s important to practice good information security in regards to technology. Also, you might want to consider staying away from vulgarity and name calling… if you’re going to try to take the moral high ground.

            Next, according to the Virginia State Board of Elections, over 50,000 Virginians voted for a third party candidate in the 2012 Presidential Elections. Then there are the thousands of registered voters who didn’t cast a ballot, which can be considered a protest vote. So Sarvis polling at 7% according to the PPP and 5% according to Roanoke College shows the current major parties are failing some Virginia voters.

            Finally, I am not Robert Sarvis.

          • Whoever you are, you don’t get to say something is a logical fallacy when it isn’t (MD didn’t make an ad hominem attack) and then try to lecture on grammar.

            The bottom line is this is a protest vote. They don’t like either gubernatorial candidates and it has nothing to do with party. Nobody, other than me and a handful of other people who actually know Robert (I ran alongside him in 2011) personally have any idea who he is. The poll wasn’t about him being who he is – it was about him not being Terry McAuliffe or Ken Cuccinelli. That’s all it was. No need to spin it into anything more than that.

          • Third Party?

            I would say comparing a political movement with unicorns and magic rainbows (as well as calling those people who support that movement as delusional) is an ad hominem argument.

            I would also say comparing Robert Sarvis (the guy you ran alongside in 2011) to “Rocky the Squirrel” is an informal fallacy.

            Because these attack the characteristics of the movement, people who support that movement, and Sarvis without actually addressing any substance of the movement, people, or the individual.

            But again, I would agree with you that it is a protest vote.

          • Then you don’t know what an ad hominem argument is. Calling a political movement unicorns and rainbows isn’t ad hominem. He’s just mocking it. For it to be an ad hominem attack, Russ would have had to attack you personally, saying your argument is invalid because of some characteristic about you.

            If he had said “Third Party’s arguments are all crap because he’s a communist” that would be ad hominem. You can attack people, movements and their motivations without any of that being ad hominem.

            But I’ve always found wasting time debating fallacies is pointless.

          • Third Party?

            Wait. What?

            First off, ad hominem arguments are not limited to personal attacks.

            “Ad hominem
            1: appealing to feelings or prejudices rather than intellect
            2: marked by or being an attack on an opponent’s character rather than by an answer to the contentions made”

            So I’m fairly certain Russ’s arguments and comparisons about the libertarian movements fit definition #1, and his comment “Kind of like the same character it takes to post under your real name, something you wouldn’t know about” would fit definition #2.

            But you’re correct. This is a waste of time.

          • No, I’m not. You are misinterpreting the definitions. MD was making a personal attack on libertarians – he wasn’t appealing to feelings or prejudices. He’s simply making fun of them.

            As for the #2 definition, he wasn’t invalidating anything you said because you are posting anonymous, he was attacking your character. He wasn’t attacking your argument by attacking you – he was just attacking you. That’s not ad hominem.

            Read this – it’s helpful.

          • Third Party?

            I’m supposed to believe a personal website from someone who posts comments about computer games and who blogs about his opinion? Maybe your post is well intentioned, but it’s not reliable.

            So thanks but no thanks. I’ll stick with M-W dictionary.

            This is my last post on this discussion board.

          • MD Russ

            “This is my last post on this discussion board.”

            Why? Because your IP address in the Antarctica project was shut down? Bob, you are not fooling anyone with your supposedly anonymous comments. I know who you are and can track you. So much for “privacy and security.”

          • Eisenhower

            Then I guess you’re a Vulcan. Last time I checked Rand Paul won his REPUBLICAN primary by a landslide against Trey Grayson. And Mitch McConnell the Republican Senate Minority leader has hired the “non-Republican” Rand Paul’s campaign staff. Throw in Thomas Massie’s victory last year, Amash’s re-election last year, Mike Lee in Utah, and the seeming willingness of Sen. Ted Cruz to embrace “the Wacko Birds” and “Stand with Rand” on drones, and the new the military sexual assault bill (sponsored by Gillibrand), I would say the GOP is a home for libertarians (Rand Paul included). You don’t like it blame the voters, or the failure of “establishment” republicans to deliver for the party’s base.

          • MD Russ


            Of course, I could have said, “live long and prosper,” but I really don’t want you to.

          • Allen Knapp
          • Allen Knapp

            Sarvis is above double digits.. your turn…

          • Allen Knapp

            here is a quick list of overseas installations that cost money to run.


    • It’s a protest vote.

      • Third Party?

        Yes, it probably is. There are a lot of disillusioned and undecided voters.

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