How Much Does Fusion Voting Matter?

A major question in New York politics is how much fusion voting–the ability to vote for a favored candidate on a minor party line–matters to the overall result. In other words, are voters who are checking their ballot for Andrew Cuomo on the Working Families Party line  just disaffected Democrats who would support Cuomo regardless, or do these minor party ballot lines actually bring people to the polls? (The same question can be said for voters for Paladino on the Conservative line.)

A new poll in Connecticut suggests that it may be the latter. 

According to a Suffolk University survey, in a tight race for governor there, Dan Malloy, a Democrat, gets a four point cushion over his Republican rival Tom Foley by running on the WFP line. The poll puts him up 49-38, but his lead shrinks to 7 points when respondents are only given the option of voting for him as a Democrat. 

The poll also give Richard Blumenthal a commanding 18-point lead over former WWE CEO Linda McMahon, but he too gets a three point bump on the WFP line.

In New York, both Cuomo and Paladino forced the minor parties to swallow hard and accept them on their ballot line for fear of being sent to ballot status oblivion. Cross-endorsements are unlikely to matter much at the top of ticket, considering Cuomo’s healthy lead, but in the attorney general’s race and the comptroller’s race, it could matter quite a bit. Dan Donovan declined the Independent Party line due to an ongoing investigation that his office is conducting into their practices.

How Much Does Fusion Voting Matter?