Gary Johnson has scored some major endorsements with more room to grow as his main opponent implodes, and the polls show that the the Libertarian Party candidate could do what no other third-party has in the last 50 years — actually win a state.
With unpopular major party candidates in Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, the Libertarian ticket of Gary Johnson and Bill Weld has been steadily building support across the country and now has the endorsement of some major newspapers. This week, the Chicago Tribune officially endorsed Johnson this week, saying he was the most principled choice for president.
“One party has two moderate Republicans — veteran governors who successfully led Democratic states — atop its ticket. Libertarians Gary Johnson of New Mexico and running mate William Weld of Massachusetts are agile, practical and, unlike the major-party candidates, experienced at managing governments. They offer an agenda that appeals not only to the Tribune’s principles but to those of the many Americans who say they are socially tolerant but fiscally responsible.”
Johnson has five other newspaper endorsements, including the Detroit News and the Richmond Times-Dispatch, though his standing in national polls still hovers around the 10 percent mark.
— CNN International (@cnni) October 1, 2016
That could soon change, however, as Donald Trump suffered what was one of the worst weeks for any candidate in modern history. He followed up a disastrous debate performance by spending the week in a spat with former Miss Universe Alicia Machado, then was hit with a bombshell report that he may have avoided paying any income tax for 18 years following a nearly $1 billion loss in 1995.
Now, a new poll out of New Mexico shows that the state’s former governor could have a real chance of winning there. A poll from the Albuquerque Journal showed that Gary Johnson had the support of nearly a quarter of voters, within striking distance of both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.
As the Albuquerque Journal found in the poll of 501 likely New Mexico voters, Johnson had 24 percent support to 35 percent for Clinton and 31 percent for Trump.
In a state once considered to be a solid bet for Democrats, the poll shows that the result could now be up in the air.
“The election is close in New Mexico,” Brian Sanderoff, president of Research & Polling Inc., told the Albuquerque Journal. “The bottom line is that New Mexico is more competitive than I expected.”
— CO For Gary Johnson (@CO4GaryJohnson) October 1, 2016
Gary Johnson is also benefiting from two very unpopular candidates, the report noted.
“Among independent voters – or those who declined to state a party affiliation – Gary Johnson led all candidates in the four-way field. Among these voters, Johnson had 42 percent support, while Clinton polled at 26 percent, Trump at 14 percent and Stein at 6 percent.”
“Some of Gary Johnson’s support is due to many voters disliking both major party candidates,” Sanderoff said.
This appears to be the first major poll showing Gary Johnson with a chance to win a state. Earlier in the summer, a report from the Salt Lake City Tribune cited an internal poll of Utah that found Johnson in a nearly three-way tie with Clinton and Trump, but the poll later came into question.
But if the poll from New Mexico can show a real chance of winning for Gary Johnson, he could become the first third-party candidate in a generation to actually win a state. The last time it happened was in 1968, when George Wallace won five states in the south for a total of 46 electoral votes.
To have a real chance of winning a state, Gary Johnson will likely need some help in rising in the polls, and it would probably come from disenchanted Republicans. Donald Trump will need to continue sinking, and his voters will have to turn to the Libertarian Party rather than jumping to Clinton or just staying home. The next week will likely be the bellwether, with polls conducted during Trump’s terrible week starting to come out in the next few days.
[Featured Image by Rick Bowmer/AP Images]