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Sunday, July 8, 2012

Will Johnson be Magic for Obama?

Charlie Mahtesian writes at Politico:
Libertarian Party presidential nominee Gary Johnson campaigned in Tampa Friday where he implored a crowd to call national polling companies and encourage them to include him in their surveys.
"Just ask them to include my name," the former New Mexico GOP governor said, according to a Tampa Bay Times report. "That does not seem like such an onerous request."
Johnson needs to hit a 15 percent threshold in the polls to qualify for inclusion in the fall presidential debates, so it’s a big deal to his campaign.

He has a hill to climb, as Gallup reports:
U.S. registered voters show limited support for third-party candidates this year, with the vast majority preferring Barack Obama or Mitt Romney. A June 7-10 Gallup poll asked a special presidential preference question, listing three third-party candidates in addition to Obama and Romney. Libertarian presidential nominee Gary Johnson is the choice of 3% of registered voters and Green Party candidate Jill Stein the choice of 1%. Another 2% volunteer Ron Paul's name and 1% mention someone other than the listed candidates.
With Gallup's daily horse-race ballot generally showing a competitive race between Romney and Obama -- the two are tied at 46% of the vote among registered voters since Gallup began its tracking program in April -- it is interesting to note that much of the third-party vote seems to be coming at Romney's expense. Romney's 40% share of the registered voter total in this ballot format in the June 7-10 survey is significantly below his average in tracking to date, while Obama's 47% vote share is more in line with his typical performance.
And Johnson could be the Ralph Nader of 2012, doing just well enough to tip certain key states from Romney to Obama..  At Politico, Maggie Haberman and Alexander Burns write:
“I really think Gary Johnson takes New Mexico off the table for Mitt Romney,” said Jill Hanauer, president of the Democratic firm Project New America, which polls Western states.

Colorado, Hanauer said, is another state that’s ripe for Johnson’s influence, especially given the fight there over a ballot referendum to legalize medical marijuana that Johnson supports. A PPP survey recently showed the former governor getting seven percent of the vote, and pushing Obama’s lead wider there over Romney. Nevada also has potential.
“In Nevada, we saw a lot of support during the Republican primary for Ron Paul. … I bet a million bucks they’re going to turn their eyes to Gary Johnson,” Hanauer said. “And the Republican Party [there] is economically conservative, but Nevadans are generally very moderate on social issues.”