Who Votes for Nader?

I don’t ordinarily like simply to link to news stories (see, for example, my first post to the Lab, in which I decry “clip-n-comment” blogs), but sometimes there are tidbits buried in them that are just too good to resist (see, for example, my first post to the Lab, in which I nonetheless link to a news story).

The Times has an article about the Democrats’ sophisticated anti-Nader campaign. Stan Greenberg has been doing extensive polling to figure out who the Nader voters are and how to reach them:

Nader supporters, Mr. Greenberg’s polling shows, are generally older and angrier than other voters. They are fiercely against globalization and corporate dominance, and they are largely indifferent to social issues like abortion and gay marriage.

Sounds to me like a bunch of unreconstructed Marxists. Old enough to be nostalgic for the Soviet Union? Check. Angry as all get-out? Check. Strongly motivated by anti-capitalist economic issues? Check. Indifferent to social issues? Check. (After all, culture is epiphenomenal, and issues of social injustice are just by-products and consequences of the deeper economic inhumanity of the capitalist system.)

Either that, or they’re the doppelgangers of the libertarians: once you’re committed to a certain species of localism, the distinction between incredibly pro-capitalist and incredibly anti-capitalist is surprisingly weak. If you lump Naderites and Badnarikites together and call them all anarchists, you’re not too far from the truth, even if they’d love to claw each others’ eyes out. Holy wars are always fiercest within splinter sects.

Two early clues from the polling: when Nader supporters learned that Mr. Nader had accepted help and money from Republicans to get on the ballots in various states, they dropped away. And one of the few public figures who has credibility with Nader backers is former President Jimmy Carter, who is perceived as not compromised by or profiting from the political system.

Or, maybe they’re just ill-informed hard-line leftists, and it takes both the right kind of facts and the right kind of appeal to their sinister nature (or is that the left kind of appeal?) to wean them away.