Will Gary Johnson affect this election?

Posted on October 3, 2012 by



Gary Johnson announced that he would run for President as a Republican on a libertarian platform in 2011, but after being excluded from the Republican Party, Johnson withdrew and continued with his presidential campaign under the Libertarian Party. He won the Libertarian Party nominee with his running mate Judge James P. Gray and will be on the ballot this November in at least 48 states and is anticipated to be on all 50 by Election Day.

Gary Johnson, a former Republican governor of New Mexico from 1995-2003 has no shot at winning the presidential election this year but he could definitely make an impact on who does win this election.

Johnson is only polling roughly around 5 percent nationwide, so he won’t be the next president but what if his supporters could determine who is? Johnson is carrying high percentages in key battleground states, enough to shape how these swing states vote, which is crucial in this election.

According to Fox News, Gary Johnson is at 9% in Arizona, 7% in Colorado and New Hampshire and 13% in New Mexico according to recent polls this percentage is enough to hinder either Obama or Romney. With Obama and Romney within a few digits in the battleground states of Colorado, Nevada, Virginia, North Carolina, and Florida this could have an effect on which way the state turns. But no one is for sure on what candidate is loosing votes; therefore, a toss up in each state if Johnson receives a high enough percentage comes election. This is scene as more of a problem towards Romney, because if he gives up Ohio and looses that state he needs to win all the battleground states and if Johnson does pull some of his votes from him he will loose some of these states and therefore not have a chance at winning presidency.

This wouldn’t be the first time a third-party candidate helped shape an election. In 2000, Ralph Nader won 3 percent, which is nothing but had an impact in Florida which overall helped give George W. Bush, win the Electoral College. Joseph Weber a writer for FoxNews.com writes,

“In 1992, third-party candidate Ross Perot won roughly 19 percent of the popular vote, which many people think cut into GOP incumbent George H.W. Bush’s take and put Democratic candidate Bill Clinton in the Oval Office with just 43 percent of the vote.”

“He’s going to be a problem for somebody, somewhere,” political strategist and Fox News contributor Joe Trippi wrote last month. “We don’t yet know which candidate he might harm the most — but both campaigns should be looking over their shoulders at that guy almost nobody is talking about.”

It’s unfeasible to measure at this point what outcome Johnson could have but it would be smart for Obama and Romney not to count out this guy and watch their back in these battleground states.  Right now it’s looking like Johnson supporters could hurt Obama in Colorado and New Mexico and could pull voters from Romney in Arizona. With a marijuana legalization initiative on the ballot in Colorado many supporters for Johnson who support marijuana legalization could effect what color the state turns either red or blue. With not many polls including Gary Johnson, it’s still very unclear on what candidate Johnson will be taking votes from. Johnson appeals to many conservatives as well as liberals, he has the fiscal conservative platform and leadership credibility but also shares similar civil liberties that the liberals do.

“Johnson represents what more Americans want than either Romney or Obama,” said Carla Howell, Libertarian Party executive director. “There are very large numbers of independent voters these days. Most Americans today are socially tolerant and fiscally conservative, more in line with Gary Johnson’s views.”

Time can only tell if Gary Johnson has an affect on this election, but if the race remains this tight he could be a problem somewhere in some of the battleground states. Johnson could have no affect, little affect, or could shift the Electoral College, either way attention should be paid and not rule out the potential of a third-party candidate and his affect on this election.


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