The Rittenhouse Review

A Philadelphia Journal of Politics, Finance, Ethics, and Culture

Thursday, June 24, 2004  

Give Us a Break, Ralph

This is great. Just great. The latest presidential election poll, conducted by Quinnipiac University and released today, shows a dead heat in Pennsylvania.

According to the Associated Press, the Quinnipiac Pennsylvania poll shows Sen. John F. Kerry with the support of 44 percent of registered voters and President George W. Bush garnering a 43-percent share. (Margin of error: plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.)

Neck and neck, as they say.

What’s that? Oh, you did the math? Yeah, 44 percent plus 43 percent equals 87 percent. Does that mean 13 percent of registered voters in Pennsylvania are undecided?

Not quite. Ralph Nader was named by 7 percent of those polled, leaving just 6 percent of Pennsylvanians undecided (or backing other so-called third-party candidates).


Pennsylvania is the nation’s sixth-largest state. Democrat Al Gore carried the state in 2000 by a margin of just over 4 percent, securing Pennsylvania’s coveted 21 electoral votes. Kerry needs those votes badly this year. Even in the best of circumstances Pennsylvania would be a tough fight. And now there’s Nader and his supporters, self-righteously proclaiming their ideological purity and condescendingly lecturing Kerry supporters that Nader represents a viable third-party alternative, insisting the secretive egotist “is in it to win.”

Everybody talks about Nader’s potential role as a spoiler -- one he strangely enjoys -- in Florida. Maybe it’s time for too many of us to look for the rot closer to home.

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