Spoiler Effect Goes Both Ways

From the Christian Science Monitor:
While recent successes of the Green Party in New Mexico, Oregon, and elsewhere dominate political talk of Nader as a Kerry spoiler, far less attention has been devoted to the potential of Libertarian and independent successes to drain conservative votes from Bush in swing states. In Wisconsin, where Bush narrowly lost in 2000, the Libertarian candidate in the 2002 gubernatorial context took an impressive 10.5 percent, enough to help Democrat Jim Doyle break the four-term Republican hold on the state house. In Nevada, where the president prevailed by just 3 percent in 2000, the Libertarian and two candidates running as independents took a total of 4 percent of the vote in the 2002 gubernatorial race. Bush took New Hampshire by about 1 percent in 2000 - but votes for Libertarian candidates in the 2002 gubernatorial and US Senate races there totaled more. And in Missouri, another battleground state expected to be narrowly decided in November, the Libertarian candidate's 1 percent in the 2002 US Senate race nearly upended Republican Jim Talent's razor-close win over Democrat Jean Carnahan. In Ohio, the US Senate candidate for the Natural Law Party took 4 percent in 2002. Minnesota's unusually strong support for Ross Perot's campaigns in the 1990s and its election of Jesse Ventura as governor in 1998 far surpass Nader's showings there.