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March 27, 2012Posted in Blog, News

New poll shows Libertarian Johnson at 7 percent

By Mark Wachtler

March 26, 2012. Raleigh. A new poll was released on Thursday showing Gary Johnson still a distant third in general election polling, but holding his ground. The former New Mexico Governor had been in the race for the Republican nomination for President. But after being excluded from GOP party surveys and nationally televised debates, Johnson took his campaign and army of libertarian followers into the Libertarian Party.

Read the December 29 issue of this column, ‘Does Johnson Defection Doom the GOP?’ for details.

Since then, Gary Johnson has swept the dozen or so Libertarian Party caucuses held throughout the nation in each state. Like the Republicans and Democrats, the Libertarians still have half the nation to go before they nominate their Presidential candidate for the November general election. Libertarians, as well as independents, have been salivating over a Johnson run for the White House as a third party candidate. With many voters seeing little difference between the Democrat Obama and the presumed Republican nominee Mitt Romney, they feel this election may provide the best opportunity to capture the White House since Ross Perot.

According to the latest Public Policy Polling survey, the Libertarian Johnson is hovering around 7 percent nationally. That’s not bad considering the popular former Governor has very little name recognition at this early stage of the campaign.

From March 22, 2012 Public Policy Polling survey:

Barack Obama (D) – 46 percent

Mitt Romney (R) – 39

Gary Johnson (L) – 7

Undecided – 8

Two months ago, a separate poll showed former Governor Johnson at 9 percent nationally. Both numbers being within the margin of error of each other suggests the 2 point discrepancy is due to a slightly different polling group rather than a loss of support for the candidate.

The strategy

The Johnson campaign has made no secret of their campaign strategy. Having been the victim of a widespread media black-out by the national press covering his Presidential bid, Johnson has set his sights on hitting the 15 percent polling number. Read the article ‘CNN changing Election Outcome’ for examples of the many blatant and unfair tactics used to keep the Libertarian Johnson out of the media spotlight.

If the Libertarian Party candidate can reach 15 percent in national polls, he would guarantee himself a seat at the nationally televised debates between President Obama and his eventual Republican challenger. It is there, with a free national audience and a platform to get his message out, the candidate believes he can connect with voters who have never heard of him before. Believing those frustrated voters will like what they hear from a Libertarian candidate, Johnson is banking on those disgruntled Republicans and Democrats, as well as independents and Libertarians, to sweep him into office in November.

While most political pundits don’t give Gary Johnson a chance, or any independents or third parties for that matter, others including this author are sensing history in the making. Read the article, ‘The Scenario that puts Gary Johnson in the White House’ to see how it may happen.

A history lesson

Many forget that in 1992, independent Presidential candidate Ross Perot was actually ahead in national polls only months before the general election. A Texan, Perot withdrew from the race while ahead, claiming a terror campaign by the Texas Republican Party upon his family, specifically Perot’s daughter. At the time, the Texas Republican Party was headed by George W. Bush, son of the sitting President George H.W. Bush. When Perot re-entered the Presidential race weeks later, his poll numbers had been cut in half and he never regained that level of support again.

Johnson appears to be following the Ross Perot model – score high enough in polls to be included in the debates, and then win the hearts of voters by showing them something they’ve been longing for but rarely ever see – an honest and sincere elected official that actually has a chance to win.

Ross Perot was a businessman with no experience as an elected official. Ralph Nader, Jesse Jackson and Pat Buchanan had the same handicap in their runs for the White House. While all four men are inspiring individuals, none of them had the legitimacy of an experienced and popular elected official. A still-popular former two-term Governor, Gary Johnson brings to the table something both the Democrats and Republicans have long feared – a legitimate and formidable independent challenger.


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