Last month, I publicly wrote off Gary Johnson, the pro-abortion, anti-religious freedom Libertarian candidate. I didn’t think he’d have much of an impact. I may have been wrong.
According to two new polls, Gary Johnson appears to be the real deal.
But in all seriousness, in a Gravis poll of Utah voters, Johnson received 16 percent of the vote, trailing Donald Trump (29 percent) and Hillary Clinton (26 percent). Utah, remember, is a red state that really does not like Trump. Johnson is a relative unknown compared to the other two candidates, but with 29 percent undecided, one could easily make the case that he could win Utah and its six electoral votes.
But Johnson’s surge isn’t limited to Utah. In the latest IBD/TIPP national poll, Johnson received 11 percent of the vote. Obviously this is impressive for a third party candidate, and it really speaks to how unpopular Trump and Clinton are.
We will see if this is a brief bump for Johnson or the beginning of a permanent base of #NeverTrump/#NeverHillary voters. Johnson should do everything he can to get to 15 percent nationally. If he manages that, he will reach the threshold to be included in nationally televised presidential debates.
If he can get that type of national attention, raise money, and build a real grassroots coalition, Johnson may end up impacting this election after all. If states like Utah are really in play, he could manage to win a few electoral votes, which hasn’t happened for a third party candidate since George Wallace in 1968.
Jon Schweppe is the Communications Director for American Principles Project. Follow him on Twitter @JonSchweppe.