Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson is reportedly backed by 10 percent of the electorate for this fall’s presidential election, potentially setting the stage for the best showing of a third-party candidate in two decades, the New York Times reported Sunday.
The former Republican governor of New Mexico is drawing significant support from younger voters and independents who are unsatisfied with Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump, according to a Pew Research Center poll published on Aug. 18. The results show 41 percent of registered voters would pick Clinton, while 37 percent back Trump, 10 percent are behind Johnson and 4 percent stand with Green Party candidate Jill Stein.
In a recent appearance on Fox News program “Fox and Friends,” Johnson, who’s expected to be on the ballot in all 50 states, said he could be polling even higher.
“I think that if I was in the top line of those polls I’d be at 20 percent tomorrow,” Johnson said of how polls are designed. “But not in the top line, maybe the third or fourth question in about half the polls, and then 99 percent of the media just reports the top line. So, for 70 percent of America I’m not even in the race.”
Johnson appears to be reaching the portion of the electorate that seems to have eluded Trump and Clinton’s campaigns. The poll found 32 percent of Johnson’s supporters are younger than 30, which is more than double Clinton’s 15 percent and Trump’s 12 percent.
In contrast, and perhaps to his detriment, Johnson’s only drawing 29 percent of voters over 50, whereas Trump holds a significant lead over Clinton at 62 percent compared to her 50 percent support in that demographic.
The numbers are an encouraging sign for Johnson as he angles for the 15 percent poll support required to join Clinton and Trump in the presidential debates, with the first taking place on Monday, Sept. 26.
Johnson has called for balancing the federal budget and attacking the national debt, which has grown to more than $20 trillion. He’s also for the legalization of marijuana and admitted to recreational use of the drug in the past.
The Richmond Times-Dispatch’s editorial board announced its endorsement of Johnson on Sunday, stating: “If the Commission on Presidential Debates wants to perform a real service to its country, it will invite Gary Johnson onto the big stage.”