Libertarian Party presidential candidate Gary Johnson and his supporters have been badgering national polling outfits to include his name along with Barack Obama and Mitt Romney when the polling groups take their surveys of potential US voters.
This week, Rasmussen Reports finally did and on Saturday (Aug. 25), the results showed Johnson getting just one percent, compared to 48 percent for Romney, 48 percent for Obama and 3 percent undecided.
The poll by Rasmussen was made of 1,000 likely voters across the country via telephone and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percent.
Capitol Report New Mexico contacted the Johnson campaign for reaction to the Rasmussen poll Saturday afternoon. As soon as we hear back, we’ll post their comments.
The former two-term governor of New Mexico has polled in the 6-13 percent range in states such as New Mexico, New Hampshire, Colorado and Arizona but national pollsters have generally excluded his name when asking about Obama and Romney.
Johnson’s longshot campaign is pinning its hopes on getting Johnson’s preference numbers up to the 15 percent range, which would qualify him for appearances at the upcoming presidential debates with Obama and Romney. A third-party candidate hasn’t been able to do that since 1992 when Ross Perot appeared onstage with George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton.
“He’s dreaming,” Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia Center For Politics and omnipresent figure on cable TV, told a reporter with Fox News last week. “The debate committee is run by the two [major] parties. They had to let in Perot because at one point he had 40 percent of the vote.”
Another strategy for Johnson is to lure Ron Paul supporters, unhappy that the libertarian Republican congressman from Texas lost out to Romney in the GOP primaries. Johnson is in Tampa this weekend and is scheduled to speak at “P.A.U.L. Festival,” a gathering of Paul supporters, and will try to get that vocal subgroup of Republicans to back him once Romney is officially selected as the GOP nominee at the Republican National Convention next week.
“Having met lots of Ron Paul supporters, especially young groups, … tea party groups, there’s a lot of receptiveness to Gary Johnson,” Libertarian Party executive director Carla Howell told a reporter from Maine. “They don’t like Mitt Romney. They don’t want that choice. They don’t want to just drop out and be inactive. They see Gary Johnson as offering a lot of the same things as Ron Paul.”
But Johnson’s biggest hurdle, it seems, is that a large number of Americans simply don’t know who he is.
Overall, 16 percent had a favorable opinion of Johnson and 20 percent had an unfavorable opinion.
Among Republicans surveyed, 2 percent had a “very favorable” opinion of Johnson while 9 percent had a “very unfavorable” opinion. Among Democrats, the numbers were 1 percent “very favorable” and 12 percent “very unfavorable.”
For you polling nerds, the survey of 1,000 likely voters was conducted on August 22-23 and the exact wording of the questions was:
1* If the Presidential Election were held today, would you vote for Republican Mitt Romney, Democrat Barack Obama or Libertarian Gary Johnson?
2* Do you have a very favorable, somewhat favorable, somewhat unfavorable or very unfavorable impression of Gary Johnson?
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