Gary Johnson Could Take 6 Percent of the Vote


The September Reason-Rupe Poll interviewed 1,006 Americans on landline and cellphones. Among the 787 respondents who said they definitely planned to vote in November, 6 percent plan to vote for Libertarian Presidential candidate Gary Johnson when given the option. Problematically for Johnson, few ballots actually list only three candidates. For instance, this Ohio ballot lists 8 presidential candidates.

Nevertheless, including Gary Johnson in a presidential match-up demonstrates that he takes votes from both Mitt Romney and Barack Obama, three percent from each. Johnson voters are overwhelmingly unfavorable toward both candidates; 71 percent have unfavorable opinions of Obama and 61 percent are unfavorable toward Romney.

Johnson Voters

Fifty-seven percent of Johnson voters self identify as politically independent. When asked if they lean toward one of the major political parties, 53 percent lean toward the Republicans and 38 percent lean toward the Democrats. Only 10 percent say they are completely Independent. In sum, Johnson voters are most likely to be Independent-leaning Republicans.

Forty-one percent of Johnson voters self-identify as libertarian. Only 14 percent self-identify as conservative and 10 percent self-identify as liberal. Using the Reason-Rupe ideological typology, 65 percent of Johnson voters are libertarian, the remainder is liberal or conservative, and none are communitarian.


Another way to slice the data is to look at libertarians, as defined by the Reason-Rupe ideological typology. These libertarian respondents said that government should not promote a particular set of values and that people are better able to handle complex economic problems within a free market with less government involvement. When only provided two-options for president, 77 percent of likely libertarian voters say they plan to vote for Romney, 20 percent plan to vote for Obama. However, when Gary Johnson is included as a third option, he receives 14 percent of the libertarian vote. Johnson also captures voters from both Romney and Obama. Obama's libertarian share declines from 20 percent to 13 percent and Romney's declines from 77 to 70.

Nationwide telephone poll conducted September 13th-17th on both landline and cell phones, 1006 adults, margin of error +/- 3.8%. The sample also includes 787 likely voters, with a margin of error of +/- 4.3%. Columns may not add up to 100% due to rounding. Full methodology can be found here. Full poll results found here.