Independent Election Analysts Conclude the No Labels Bid Will Help Trump

Independent Election Analysts Conclude the No Labels Bid Will Help Trump

Mark Murray NBC No Labels 2 v2

Third Way has long insisted that the No Labels third-party bid has zero chance of success and poses an enormous risk of reelecting Donald Trump. But you don’t have to take our word for it. Independent election analysts from NBC, CNN, Cook Political Report, FiveThirtyEight, Harvard’s Institute of Politics, Sabato’s Crystal Ball, Washington Post, and Puck News all agree: No Labels does not have a viable path to the White House and their run would hurt Biden and likely spoil the election in favor of Trump in 2024.

Publicly Available Independent Analyses

Split Ticket, Harrison Lavelle & Lakshya Jain – How the 2024 House Elections Could Decide the Presidency (August 21, 2023)

  • “None of the strong recent third-party candidates (e.g., Ross Perot, Ralph Nader, Gary Johnson) has managed to win a state in a presidential election…We don’t see why a potential No Labels candidate like Manchin would fare better than someone like Perot did.”

Chris Cilliza - Twitter (Aug. 11, 2023)

Director of Polling at Harvard University’s Institute of Politics, John Della VolpeDonald Trump cannot win re-election without No Labels (Video clip: 8:39) (August 4, 2023)

  • “Donald Trump will be elected or re-elected, I think, based upon No Labels and Green Party's Cornel West. I don't think there’s any question about [Trump’s] inability to get a majority of the American electorate and a majority of the electoral college.”

Della Volpe also says that No Labels’ claim that their “in-house polling shows that an independent ticket would have a good chance of winning a majority of Electoral College vote” is “the most ridiculous thing” he’s read. (November 29, 2023)

CNN, Harry Enten Why Biden worries about a third-party rival in 2024 (July 16, 2023)

  • Polling shows No Labels will likely peel off a crucial part of the Biden 2020 coalition, and third-party candidates would take more from Biden.

FiveThirtyEight, Geoffrey SkelleyWhy A Third-Party Candidate Might Help Trump – And Spoil the Election For Biden (July 13, 2023)

  • No Labels’ potential candidates, Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) and former Governor Larry Hogan (R-MD), siphon off enough of the vote for Trump to win.

FiveThirtyEight, Geoffrey SkelleyNo Labels Is Chasing A Fantasy (June 30, 2023)

  • No Labels’ “Independent Coalition” isn’t real—only about 10% of the electorate are true Independents that don’t lean towards Democrats or Republicans.

Sabato’s Crystal Ball, Kyle Kondik Electoral College Ratings: Expect Another Highly Competitive Election (June 29, 2023)

  • No Labels does not have a path to victory, “and the ultimate third party vote does not seem likely to be large (perhaps more than 2020’s 2% of the total but likely not reaching 2016’s 6%).”

NBC News, Ben Kamisar  More Democrats than Republicans are open to a third-party presidential candidate (June 28, 2023)

  • “Openness” to voting for a third-party has not changed dramatically since 2008, and recent NBC News polling shows that “a majority of voters are still not open to considering such a bid.”

NBC News, Mark Murray The stark numbers driving Democratic panic about a third-party 2024 bid (May 30, 2023)

  • The exclusion of third-party candidates in 2020 allowed for Biden to grow the Democratic coalition and win the battleground states, while Trump’s share of the vote remained the same from 2016 to 2020.

Subscription Required Independent Analyses

The Bulwark, Sarah Longwell – The Evidence Is In: No Labels Should Get Out (Nov. 13, 2023).

  • “After conducting hundreds of focus groups with voters across the political spectrum, it’s clear to me that a unity ticket in 2024 isn’t just fantastical; it’s dangerous. A centrist unity ticket appeals to exactly one demographic: swing voters who will decide the outcome of the 2024 election…THE ELECTORAL COALITION that propelled Biden to office is heterogeneous and unruly. It ranges from older, more moderate black Democrats to young activists to suburban moderates who, before 2020, had never voted for a Democrat in their lives. Biden needs to keep as many of these voters in his coalition as possible, because, by contrast, Trump’s coalition is more homogeneous and more enthusiastic.
  • “The upshot is that a No Labels ticket would draw votes away from Biden and barely any from Trump, almost certainly resulting in a second Trump presidency. In recent focus groups with partisan Democrats and Republicans, as well as swing voters, I’ve seen a consistent pattern in who expresses interest in a third-party option—and it’s exactly the people Biden needs to keep on his side. The coalition that will defend American democracy in 2024 isn’t pro-Biden but anti-Trump, and No Labels is perfectly positioned to split that coalition.
  • “In one focus group of voters who switched from Trump to Biden in 2020, eight said that if the election were tomorrow, they would vote for Biden, while only one would go back to Trump. But when offered the option of an unnamed moderate third-party candidate, three said they would stay with Biden and six switched to support the third-party candidate. It’s clear based on these conversations that the No Labels project is popular with moderate Republicans, former Republicans, and independents who don’t like Trump but don’t feel at home in the Democratic party.
  • “In a group of college-educated, two-time Trump voters, none would consider any option but Trump—and the choice wasn’t hard for them either. A Trump voter I talked with in 2022 summed up the common sentiment: ‘I’d love to see a third party that, you know, takes votes away from the Democratic party, which would make it easier for Republicans to get elected.’”

Wall Street Journal, Aaron Zitner & Stephanie Stamm – Why Third-Party Candidates Threaten Biden in 2024 (Nov. 10, 2023).

  • “An NBC News poll, for example, finds Biden and Trump with equal support when voters are asked which they prefer. But if voters are also offered the Green Party, the Libertarian Party and the group No Labels, which says it may run a bipartisan ticket, then Biden loses 10 percentage points to other options, while Trump loses 7 points.
  • “Biden loses slightly more ground than Trump in several other polls in which voters are presented both a two-candidate ballot and then a ballot with four or more options. 
  • “Recent history gives Biden a reason to fear third parties: In 2016, they drew an unusually large share of votes in swing states that Hillary Clinton unexpectedly lost. Many Democrats are convinced that the shift hurt Clinton in several states that had traditionally backed their party. In those states, the number of voters who opted for third parties was larger than the number of votes Clinton would’ve needed to add to overtake Trump.”

Cook Political Report, Amy Walter How Seriously Should We Take a Potential No Labels Candidate? (July 19, 2023)

  • Walter dismantles No Labels’ polling argument, saying they are guilty of using “vague language to justify their contention that there’s a pathway to 270 electoral votes for their potential candidate.”
  • “‘If we do get a rematch of Trump and Biden,’ writes No Labels, ‘a whopping 59% of voters say they would consider a moderate independent ticket in the 2024 race.’ Again, ‘consider’ is doing a lot of work here. Personally, I would be willing to ‘consider’ eating a tofu dog instead of a hot dog or cheeseburger. I know it’s healthier for me. It is also better for the environment. But, when push comes to shove, am I reallygoing to eat it? Probably not.” 

Puck News, Peter Hamby Biden’s “Double-Hater”-itis (July 10, 2023)

  • Hamby breaks down how third-party candidacies fail to live up to expectations and how Joe Biden relies on the votes of “double-haters” and those who voted for a third party in 2016.
  • “That NBC News poll showing 44 percent of the electorate would consider voting third party next year? That number is actually lower than it was in 2016 (46 percent) and about the same as it was when Obama was seeking re-election 2012 (40 percent)—a year when almost no one was talking about third party candidates at all.”
  • “One factor to keep in mind: Cycle after cycle, in both national and statewide elections, polls always show an appetite for independent challengers and third-party candidates. Voters love to say they hate partisanship and politicians—this is literally the No Labels fundraising pitch—but third-party candidates almost never live up to their expectations.” 
  • “Go back and look at pretty much any poll from any race in the closing weeks of a campaign: Third party candidates sometimes look like spoilers, but they almost always finish with a lower share of the vote than the polls predicted. Gary Johnson was polling around 10 percent at certain moments in 2016, but his final vote share was only 3 percent.”
  • “Third party vote share collapsed in 2020 because the voters Democrats depend on understood they needed to get in the game—not stay at home and whine about politics being lame. A similar phenomenon played out in last year’s midterms, when independents and Democrats were meh on Biden, but showed up anyway in November to vote down Trumpy candidates in the states where it mattered.”

Washington Post, Philip Bump The twin flaws of No Labels’s 2024 strategy (June 27, 2023)

  • Bump shows that No Labels does not have a viable third-party coalition to win the presidency:
  • “Only 6 percent of the country actually vehemently dislike both Biden and Trump. That’s the sweet spot for No Labels — if they can find a candidate all 6 percent of that group likes. Good luck!”
  • “We are in an era of weak parties and strong partisanship. No Labels and Forward think they can take advantage of the former while ignoring the latter. They can’t.”


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