According to a recent poll conducted by Monmouth University, if the Libertarian candidate is Gary Johnson, he would currently draw 11% of the national vote!
The Monmouth poll finds that Hillary Clinton still leads the field with 42%, GOP frontrunner Donald Trump with 34%, and Gary Johnson at 11%. In 2012 when the former New Mexico Governor ran for President as the Libertarian Party candidate he was only able to draw about 1% of the vote. However, in 2016, the threat of a Hillary Clinton – Donald Trump presidential battle seems to have given Governor Johnson a boost in the polls.
In a hypothetical head-to-head race, Clinton has a putative 10 point lead – 48% to 38% for Trump. While Clinton gets the support of 89% of self described Democrats – a fairly typical partisan support level at this stage of the race – Trump can only claim the support of 73% of Republicans. Working in Trump’s favor is that independents are presently divided – 40% support him and 39% support Clinton.
This two-person race is fairly tight in the all-important “swing” states. Clinton holds a narrow 46% to 41% edge in ten states where the margin of victory in the 2012 presidential election was less than 7 percentage points. Clinton actually does better in “leaning” states. She has a 49% to 36% advantage over Trump in ten states where the margin of victory was between 7 and 12 percentage points and that generally went for Romney in 2012. Clinton also does better in solidly blue states (56% to 30% for Trump) than Trump does in solidly red states (48% to 38% for Clinton).
Monmouth also tested a potential three-way race involving Clinton, Trump, and former GOP governor, now Libertarian, Gary Johnson. In this hypothetical contest, Clinton earns 42% of the vote – down 6 points from the two-person race – and Trump gets 34% – down 4 points from the two-person race. Johnson takes 11%. In this contest, Clinton maintains her swing state lead – 44% to 37% for Trump and 9% for Johnson – while her leaning state lead narrows – 43% to 34% for Trump and 9% for
Johnson. Johnson gets his highest vote share – 15% – in the red states. Johnson is largely an unknown commodity. Just 9% have a favorable opinion of him and 15% an unfavorable opinion, while 3-in-4 (76%) don’t know enough about him to form an opinion. “A vigorous third party campaign is a very real possibility this year, but it is not yet clear what the impact could be. Including Johnson’s name in our polling seems to be more of a placeholder for voters who are not particularly thrilled with either major party choice right now,” said Murray.
This poll continues the cautionary trend that the polls have been showing for months now. If Donald Trump is the GOP nominee he will face a steep uphill battle in the race for the White House. No other GOP candidate is starting as far back as he is in the general election race. This poll also has some good news for the Libertarian Party, which has a unique opportunity in this election to gain some political traction (especially if Clinton and Trump are the nominees). The LP can play on voter disaffection with the major parties in an attempt to win their largest share of the vote… ever.
The 2016 national elections continue to grow ever more unpredictable.
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