For months, Libertarian presidential nominee Gary Johnson has tried to build up his poll numbers in order to reach the national debate stage for a showdown with Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton. Unfortunately for the former New Mexico governor, his numbers have never reached higher than 10 percent, falling short of the 15 percent minimum required to make the debates.
However, according to a new poll of America’s military serviceman released Wednesday morning, the race for the White House comes down to Johnson and Trump.
A joint survey conducted by Military Times and Syracuse University’s Institute for Veterans and Military Families of more than 2,200 active duty serviceman shows Trump barely edging out Johnson 37.6 percent to 36.5 percent with Clinton way back at 16.3 percent. Green Party candidate Jill Stein is a distant fourth at 1.2 percent and 5 percent of those surveyed said they planned not to vote at all.
Johnson, who, according to RealClear Politics’ poll consensus, is tracking at 8.7 percent, has received particularly strong support from military officers rather than enlisted personnel, according to Military Times. He received 38.6 percent of the support from officers, while Clinton’s 28 percent is only two percent stronger than Trump’s.
Trump received 39.8 percent of the support from enlisted personnel, compared to Johnson’s 36.1 percent. Clinton notched 14.1 percent. In particular, the Navy resoundingly chose Johnson at 42.3 percent, while Trump drew 28.4 percent and Clinton 21.2.
“These are the worst two [major party] candidates we could possibly have,” one Army captain who did not want to reveal his name told Military Times. “We deserve better as the American people and should expect better.”
That’s a disheartening sentiment rippling through the rest of the military, the survey shows. Eighty-five percent of the respondents said they were unhappy with Clinton as the Democrat’s choice and 66 percent disliked the GOP’s selection of upstart Trump. Still, 35 percent said they would still vote for Clinton, and 21 percent intended to pick Trump.
The positive weight and legitimacy Johnson is carrying with the military may perhaps be surprising. Earlier this month, Johnson received major backlash for not knowing the Syrian city of Aleppo, where much of the Middle Eastern nation’s civil conflict has taken place over the last five years, resulting in a refugee crisis.
Johnson’s poll numbers barely flinched after the glaring mistake. The military poll was taken one day after the comment had some questioning Johnson’s knowledge of foreign affairs.