The conventional wisdom is that with liberal voters desperate to return to the White House and conservatives tepid about the Republican nominee, Bob Barr will be a much bigger threat to McCain than Ralph Nader will be to Obama. But a new CNN poll suggests just the opposite.
The poll has Obama beating McCain 50-45 in a head-to-head match up, but:
In a four-way matchup that includes independent candidate Ralph Nader and Libertarian candidate Bob Barr, Obama’s lead over McCain dwindles to 3 percentage points, 46 percent to 43 percent. (Nader registers 6 percent, and Barr gets 3 percent.)
It’s hard to know what to make of this, since I haven’t seen any other polls reflecting such a strong showing for Nader. I would have thought that with the most liberal candidate since George McGovern on the ticket and with Nader’s controversial charge that Obama was “talking white,” that the old consumer advocate wouldn’t be able to pull off anything like he did in 2000. I’m still pretty much of that view. But maybe the far left won’t have as much tolerance for Obama’s general election moves to the center as I’ve assumed. His reversal on FISA and initial rejection of Wesley Clark’s comments seem to have struck a particular nerve. Kos and Arianna Huffington have both registered their discontent with Obama. Just another wild card to keep an eye on.