The left-right battle lines are clearly drawn in the contest between John McCain and Barack Obama, but both have gadflies on their flanks that could siphon off votes and damage prospects in key states were polls show a tight race. To Obama’s left is now perennial candidate Ralph Nader, who many credit/blame with tipping the 2000 Florida results, and the entire election, to George W. Bush. But this time, there’s a relatively strong candidate to the right of McCain, Libertarian and former Rep. Bob Barr. An article at the Rasmussen Polls website notes that each 3rd party candidate is a constant threat to grab a percent of the vote here or there, and it just may be enough to cost one or the other major party candidate a victory in a key state.
RBR/TVBR observation: All of which means the pressure will remain on McCain and Obama to keep pouring money into battlegrounds, not only to grab undecided voters but also to shore up members of the base who may be prone to stray toward the fringe candidates. But who are we kidding? That spending was probably going to keep flowing anyway.