Poll of Libertarian Party Members Shows Gary Johnson with Majority Support for Presidential Nod
But with only 10 percent of polled actual delegates, the future of the Party remains uncertain.
The website Hammer of Truth, in collaboration with the Libertarian National Committee, conducted a survey last week of 1,563 "known registered voters" who are "current dues paying members or lapsed for less than one year" of the Libertarian Party.
The respondents were invited by the Libertarian National Committee via email. The survey claims a 3.5 percent margin of error, and found, among other things, that Gary Johnson, the 2012 candidate, has a huge current lead in presidential support, with 60.9 percent support. The only other candidate to break 10 percent was Austin Petersen at 16.7.
Before Gary Johnson gets too excited by those results, only 10 percent of the surveyed say they will be delegates at the convention in Orlando this weekend that will actually nominate the president. One can presume that delegates both are more primed to pay attention to the various candidates, and have in many cases been on the receiving end of direct persuasion attempts by various candidates. Almost none of the online or convention straw polls I was shown while working on my July Reason feature on the candidates matched this level of support for Johnson over his competitors.
More than half polled, 59 percent, think "taxes" are an extremely important issue, while 57.8 say that about the economy in general. The next highest concern, with 38.5 considering it "extremely important," was foreign policy. Next in line was criminal justice, which 32.1 mark as extremely important.
The poll also asked for favorability rankings of a bunch of people and things of presumed interest to Libertarians. Highest mean approval rating on a scale of 1 to 100 went to Ron Paul, with 81.3, barely edging out Johnson with 80.9. Rand Paul's was 69.2. (As my colleague Jesse Walker pointed out, 2008 L.P. presidential candidate Bob Barr, who let the party down by most estimations, did manage to edge out NAFTA in popularity, 47 to 38.5.) Donald Trump? 24.8. Hillary Clinton? 8.2, slightly below Obamacare at 11.6. (Pro-life or anti-abortion groups came in with 39.1 mean approval.)
Of the respondents, 28.5 percent had been Libertarians for less than a year, and 19.9 percent for over 20 years. Male, 88.4; female 11.6, white 87.1 percent. The south was the most represented region, at 31.7 percent.