'How can this be?', you might ask, 'Nader does not even have 10% support in most places'. While this is true, the reality may be hidden beneath the surface of the polling numbers. Allow me to explain.
The latest ABC News poll shows Kerry ahead of the pack with 48% support, Bush with 44%, and Nader at 6%. However, while 83% of Bush backers report confidence in their candidate, only 44% of Kerry's supporters actually see him as an attractive candidate. Most of the remaining Kerry backers simply oppose George Bush.
With that in mind, lets take another look at the statistics. Assuming that the remaining majority of otherwise Kerry voters, (around 56%) would vote for a clear alternative such as Nader, if they felt confident that their vote stood a good chance of ousting Bush, that could mean that Nader would walk away with as much as 27% of the total votes in addition to the 6% that he already enjoys, for a total of around 33%! This would leave 'Skull and Boner' Kerry with only 21% support.
Now here is the kicker. If you strip away the 16% of 'Anybody But Kerry' Bush supporters and place them over into the Nader column, that puts Bush in second place, with only 37%, and Nader out ahead of everybody with 40%!!!
Admittedly, this analysis assumes a great deal. Among other things, it assumes that folks who are less than enthusiastic about the two mainstream candidates would likely throw their support to Nader if they thought he had a chance to win. This may not be that idealistic of an assumption. Ralph Nader has shown the ability to garner 'left to right' support, from the Greens to the Reformers. He does this by maintaining a consistent message that appeals to anyone with some common sense and a sense of fairness.
From Ashcroft and Rumsfeld's torture-gate, to Cheney's bribery scandal, to the treasonous Valerie Plame incident; from Wolfowitz's and Powell's WMD intelligence and planning failures, to the Richard 'Perle Harbor' 9/11 attack fiasco, to the Diebold sponsored voter fraud campaign, the Bush crew have a whole slough of potentially self-destructive irons in the fire. Kerry has largely hitched his wagon to the Bush platform, and has so far failed magnificently to enterprise on the many Bush failures.
If things get significantly worse for our paper-thin 'economic recovery', or if events overseas deteriorate even further, more and more people may begin to see Bush/Kerry in 2004 as unpalatable option. As I have demonstrated above, someone like Nader may actually have a chance to win, if we only had the courage to demand it.