Washington Libertarian Review

Political commentary from the State of Washington with a libertarian perspective.

Saturday, December 04, 2004

Getting your money's worth

Yesterday the Democrats threw another $730,000 into the governor's race, asking the state for a once in a lifetime hand recount. They also sued in the state supreme court to require that previously invalidated ballots be reviewed again, even though state law prohibits it.

Meanwhile, the Public Disclosure filings show Democrat Christine Gregoire has spent $5,601,928.04 on her campaign. Republican Dino Rossi has spent $5,675,868.02. Libertarian Ruth Bennett has spent a whopping $2,703.98 on the race.

As of the recount Rossi, with 1,372,484 votes, is 42 votes ahead of Gregoire, who has 1,372,442 votes. Bennett, of course, registered only 63,415 votes, or 2.26%.

So what's the big deal to Libertarians? Bennett got trounced, right?

WRONG! Bennett didn't spend enough money!

Based on the above figures the Gregoire campaign spent $4.08 per vote. The hand recount costs will bring the total to roughly $4.61 per vote. Meanwhile Rossi spent $4.12 for each of his votes.

At the same time each of Bennett's votes cost her a mere $.0426 cents. That's right; the decimal point is all the way to the far left.

In terms of simple math, 936,114 votes (1/3 of the total plus 1) might have cost the Bennett campaign a mere $39,878.44. Obviously there is the marginal return factor (i.e., the more you spend the less you get), but these numbers suggest a phenomenon that the LP needs to consider.

Dollar for dollar, our money is worth more than theirs.


Blogger J. Mills said...

"Dollar for dollar, our money is worth more than theirs."
- Richard Shepard

Another lesson of the Bennett campaign is that smart "investors" in the political process will recognize money invested in targeted Libertarian campaigns can have enormous impact.

The Rossi camp is now involved in a nail-biter. But, the last $100,000 spent on Rossi ads almost certainly had negligible effect on his vote totals. Had that money instead been used to promote Ruth, almost certainly Rossi would be ahead now by so many votes that recounts would be wholly unnecessary - even unauthorized.

Smart players in the politial process would do well to learn how to play three-way politics and to judiciously target Libertarian races (like Ruth's) where a little help can have enormous impact by tipping a delicate balance.

At less than 4 cents a vote, and based on polls showing that Ruth drew 2-1 D votes over R votes, another 6000 total votes for Ruth would be an additional net 2000 in favor of Rossi, which would make the race outside the margin where recounts occur. Those 6000 votes would have cost $240 at 4 cents a vote.

Ok, maybe the statistics aren't exactly precise. So, let's overspend by a factor of 200%. That suggests it might have cost another $50,000 or so to have put this race away for Rossi, had the money been used to promote Ruth.

If Rossi loses, someone should be kicking someone. And, if Rossi wins, people should still recognize that this race was close only because the old parties still don't understand three-way political strategy.

It's the math, stupid!

11:46 AM  

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