|Third Party candidates||Party||Percent||Vote count||Number of state ballots|
|Ralph Nader||Green Party||2.7%||(2,800,000 votes)||44 states|
|Pat Buchanan||Reform Party||0.4%||(450,000 votes)||49 states|
|Harry Browne||Libertarian Party||0.4%||(390,000 votes)||50 states|
|Howard Phillips||Constitution Party||0.1%||(101,000 votes)||41 states|
|John Hagelin||Natural Law Party||0.1%||(83,000 votes)||38 states|
Buchanan acted as more of a "spoiler" than Nader - assuming all of Buchanan's votes would have gone to Bush, Buchanan "spoiled" both Iowa (Bush 28%, Gore 49%, Nader 2%, Buchanan 1%) and the sharply contested state of Wisconsin (Bush 47.7%, Gore 47.9%, Nader 3.6%, Buchanan 0.4%). Nationwide, Buchanan could be considered the "spoiler" for why Bush lost the popular vote to Gore: Had Buchanan's overall 0.4% been given to Bush, he would have beaten Gore in the popular vote.
Perhaps more significantly, Harry Browne, the Libertarian candidate, succeeded in achieving the title of "spoiler" in two highly contested states, New Mexico and Oregon, in both of which Bush considered demanding a recount. In both those states, Browne beat Buchanan, and Browne's vote count was greater than Bush's deficit below Gore. (Although in Browne's case, it is not likely at all that his votes would have all gone to Bush).
Every third party candidate on the ballot in Florida would have made the difference there, of course, since Gore and Bush were separated by under 1,000 votes. So Nader was no more the spoiler there than Buchanan was.
The prospects for the Reform Party look bad. Their contentious convention, where Buchanan and Hagelin split the party into two competing halves, doomed both candidates. Buchanan barely beat Libertarian candidate Harry Browne overall, and Hagelin (Ross Perot's candidate of choice) lost to Constitution Party candidate Howard Phillips overall. The Reform Party has name recognition (Buchanan), money (Ross Perot), and political power (Jesse Ventura, governor of Minnesota), but those three men could not agree to create a party. In fact, they differ so much right now that they claim membership in THREE parties, not just two. Any hope for a future Reform Party lies with those three men getting together.
For the rest of the candidates, let's define "also-ran" as "the candidate who came in fourth after Nader, or who came in third if Nader was absent from the state." Buchanan was expected to be the first "also-ran" in every state - but in fact he succeeded in only 31. Harry Browne was the first "also-ran" in 18 states, and Howard Phillips in 2 (the total of 51 includes DC).
The prospects for the Libertarian Party look pretty good. Harry Browne beat Pat Buchanan in 16 states (not including two states where Browne was the first "also-ran" because Buchanan was not on the ballot). Those states where Browne beat Buchanan head-to-head include California, Texas, Massachusetts, Michigan, and Virginia - large states which can now be considered libertarian-leaning. And Browne showed in a clean 3rd place, in two states, Georgia and North Carolina (where Nader was not on the ballot). Perhaps most ironically, Browne beat Buchanan in New Hampshire, where Buchanan beat George Bush Sr. in the Republican primary in 1992.
The prospects for the Constitution Party also look pretty good. Howard Phillips was the first "also-ran" in two states (Connecticut and Mississippi), beating Buchanan (and Browne) in both states. Phillips only garnered 1/10th of 1% of the vote overall, but that was better than expected. Presumably we will hear from him again in 2004.
The prospects for the Natural Law Party, and especially for John Hagelin, look very bad. He and his party got entangled in the Reform Party debacle, and will suffer as a result. Hagelin's future, and his party's, depend on the Reform Party, and they are more disorganized than ever.