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Has the Prohibition of Fusion Really Hurt Third-Parties?
Unformatted Document Text:  Figure 3 Approximately Here Nonetheless, Figure 3 indicates that fusion was not a widely used strategy, with the possible exception of 1896, even when it was legal, at least during these limited study periods. This figure shows the percent of districts with at least one fusion candidate during the periods from 1890 to 1910 and from 1998 to 2006. The figure is split between New York and other states in order to make the analysis relevant to current politics, since there might be a case of New York exceptionalism in its currently widespread use of fusion. As the graph indicates, the use of fusion within states that permit fusion was higher in the late nineteenth century and then declined considerably after that outside of New York until 1910. Over the past decade, seven states have permitted fusion: Connecticut, Delaware, Idaho, Mississippi, New York, South Carolina, and Vermont. As the graph shows, in New York, the vast majority of House districts have at least one fusion candidate in each election. In sharp contrast, in the other six states that allow fusion, there have been only five fusion candidates over these five elections: One in Connecticut in 2000, one in South Carolina in 2002, one in South Carolina in 2004, and two in South Carolina in 2006. The vast majority of districts and most of the states that permit fusion did not have a fusion candidate during this period. Conclusion: In other words, making fusion legal across the United States is unlikely to create a significant increase in the vote for third-party candidates. A fusion strategy does seem to help third-party candidates overall. When at least one fusion candidate runs in a state, other third- party candidates seem to gain votes. The problem is that making fusion legal does not create a 18

Authors: Tamas, Bernard.
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background image
Figure 3 Approximately Here
Nonetheless, Figure 3 indicates that fusion was not a widely used strategy, with the
possible exception of 1896, even when it was legal, at least during these limited study periods.
This figure shows the percent of districts with at least one fusion candidate during the periods
from 1890 to 1910 and from 1998 to 2006. The figure is split between New York and other
states in order to make the analysis relevant to current politics, since there might be a case of
New York exceptionalism in its currently widespread use of fusion. As the graph indicates, the
use of fusion within states that permit fusion was higher in the late nineteenth century and then
declined considerably after that outside of New York until 1910. Over the past decade, seven
states have permitted fusion: Connecticut, Delaware, Idaho, Mississippi, New York, South
Carolina, and Vermont. As the graph shows, in New York, the vast majority of House districts
have at least one fusion candidate in each election. In sharp contrast, in the other six states that
allow fusion, there have been only five fusion candidates over these five elections: One in
Connecticut in 2000, one in South Carolina in 2002, one in South Carolina in 2004, and two in
South Carolina in 2006. The vast majority of districts and most of the states that permit fusion
did not have a fusion candidate during this period.
Conclusion:
In other words, making fusion legal across the United States is unlikely to create a
significant increase in the vote for third-party candidates. A fusion strategy does seem to help
third-party candidates overall. When at least one fusion candidate runs in a state, other third-
party candidates seem to gain votes. The problem is that making fusion legal does not create a
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