By Ryan Lau | @agorisms
The New York race for governor has been a vicious battle thus far. Democrat incumbent Andrew Cuomo defeated challenger Cynthia Nixon in a recent primary. Now, he faces off against a number of opponents: Republican Marc Molinaro, Libertarian Larry Sharpe, Independent Stephanie Miner, and the Green Party’s Howie Hawkins. However, only Molinaro will get to debate live with Cuomo.
A Lack of Name Recognition
The Monday night move comes after a number of polls showed that the third-party candidates have very low name recognition. Specifically, a whopping 84 percent of voters had not heard of Larry Sharpe. Figures were similar for Miner and Hawkins, at 77 and 86 percent, respectively. Of the voters who had heard of Sharpe, one-third of them had a positive opinion.
As of now, polling shows a relatively secure lead for Cuomo in the state. In recent polls, he averages over 50% in the five-way race. In a strong second, Molinaro has a recent average of 35%. Most of the polls excluded the third-party candidates entirely, but in those that did not, none performed particularly well. Sharpe’s performance in a Gravis Marketing poll was the highest of the three candidates: even so, he received only 13% in this poll.
Third parties, such as the Libertarian Party, have faced exclusion from debates in the past. Most notably, the 2016 Presidential debates did not feature Gary Johnson, who then launched a major lawsuit against the Commission on Presidential Debates. He and Green Party nominee Jill Stein later lost this case. Johnson now is running for New Mexico Senate.
Sharpe took to Twitter Monday, condemning the media’s decision to exclude the third-party candidates. He strongly believes that with fair coverage, he could win the race.
(1) My poll numbers prove that I could easily walk away with 30% of the vote and win if my name recognition were equal to that of Cuomo. That tells you that people want change, but they are kept in the dark by the media that is paying to play with Cuomo.
— Larry Sharpe (@LarrySharpe) October 22, 2018
Monday night’s debate, which will be live on Tuesday night at 7 P.M. EST, is the only scheduled discourse between the two candidates before the election. Thus, Sharpe and the other third-party candidates have lost a key opportunity to increase their low name recognition.
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