Poll: Buchanan Defection Could Hand White House to Democrat

By Scott Hogenson | July 7, 2008 | 8:24 PM EDT

( - A decision by Republican presidential candidate Pat Buchanan to seek the presidency on a third party ticket has a significant likelihood of throwing the 2000 race for the White House to a Democrat, according to the latest survey of readers.

More than one-third of the people responding to a Viewer Poll said they think a Buchanan run for president under a third party banner would create a significant schism within the GOP, with 36 percent saying that it was "very likely" that a defection by Buchanan would "ensure the election of a Democrat for president in 2000."

Another 23 percent said that it was "somewhat likely" that such a move by Buchanan would throw the 2000 election to Vice President Al Gore or former New Jersey Senator Bill Bradley, both of whom are seeking the Democratic presidential nomination.

Buchanan is reportedly considering a split from the Republican Party, raising concerns about what impact such a move would have on the dynamics of the GOP nominating process and the outcome of the general election.

21 percent of those responding thought that a Buchanan defection from the GOP would make the election of a Democrat "not very likely" or "highly unlikely," according to the survey, which was taken on September 2 and 3.

Another 15 percent of those taking part in the informal polling described the situation as a "50-50 chance" that a third party bid for the White House by Buchanan would give the presidency to a Democrat in 2000.

The Viewer Poll permits a single vote from any given computer terminal and is not considered scientific. The results reflect the opinions of those participants who are readers of, 69.2 percent of whom consider themselves Republican, and 94.3 percent of whom say they plan to vote in the 2000 elections, according to the news wire's Bulletin Board registration data.