What does Stephan Colbert’s 13% tell us about 2008?

October 27, 2007

How the suprising level of support for the comedian could indicate the potency of an independant bid.


One of the more amusing stories of this election campaign was the decision of the comedian Stephan Colbert to announce a ‘bid’ for the Presidency, stating that he would run in both the Democrat and Republican primaries in South Carolina. Even more amusing was the fact that several polling organisations took him seriously enough, or had enough time on their hands, to run several polls with him as one of the stated choices. The most interesting of these polls was a poll by Rasmussed that showed he would get 13% of the vote in a national head-to-head with Giuliani and Clinton. Although I am hardly going to say that he has a serious chance, I believe that the poll reflected more than the disengagement of the young from politics.

Indeed, if you look at the crosstabs you can see that although 28% voters in the 18-29 age bracket support Colbert he still gets the support of 19% of those aged 30-39 and 10% of those aged 40-49. Although his support generally comes from those who describe themselves as liberal he hurts Giuliani the most. Although I am not for a moment suggesting that Colbert is a serious candidate, I strongly believe that this shows the potential for a more serious third party candidate to make a stab at some serious support. It also shows that the centre of the Republican party is not firmly committed to Giuliani. Both of these things should be pondered by Giuliani’s main rival for the Republican centre, Senator John McCain. This suggest that there is some value in the 1.4-1.5 on a third party victory in 2008.


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