Gary Johnson

Gary Johnson Pulls 16% in Utah Poll

With another 29 percent going to a generic "other"



Utah usually votes overwhelmingly for the Republican presidential candidate, but this is a weird year. A new poll from Gravis Marketing shows Donald Trump barely leading Hillary Clinton in the state, 29 percent to 26 percent. Gary Johnson of the Libertarian Party got 16 percent, and 29 percent picked "other."

Trump did very poorly in the Utah caucuses—he finished third in a field of three, with just 14 percent of the vote—and he has long had trouble attracting Mormon support. Johnson, the former governor of New Mexico, may benefit from higher name recognition in this part of the country; "other" no doubt benefits not just from the hope that a conservative alternative will run but from the dream that this conservative will be named Mitt Romney. Add the fact that third-party and independent candidates tend to poll better half a year before the election than when people actually vote, and the numbers become more comprehensible, if no less unusual.

But this is certainly good news for Johnson. Not just because his total is so high, but because it's this high in a survey that also includes an "other" option.

At this point I'm aware of six national surveys that have included the Johnson ticket. In four of them—a Monmouth poll in March, a Fox News poll in May, a Morning Consult poll in May, and a brand-new poll in Investor's Business Daily—his support has landed at either 10 or 11 percent. In two others, one from Public Policy Polling and one from Quinnipiac, he got 4–5 percent. The main difference between those last two surveys and the other four is that they also included Jill Stein of the Green Party; to me this suggests that the higher results are inflated by people who don't necessarily even know who Johnson is but just want to endorse someone not named Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump.

But that's not the case in Utah. "Other" isn't just included here; it's tied with Trump for the lead. And Johnson still manages to capture a substantial slice of support. It's a reminder that even if Johnson's national numbers in November wind up being closer to Nader in 2000 than Perot in 1992, he could still make a difference in some individual states. I'm not going to predict that he'll swing Utah to the Clinton column. But I'll repeat this: It's a weird year.

Deseret Currency Association

Bonus historical trivia #1: It wouldn't be the first time the L.P. nominee did much better in a specific state than he did across the country. In 1980, Libertarian presidential candidate Ed Clark got just 1 percent of the national vote. But in Alaska, he got 11.7 percent—better than John Anderson's much more publicized independent campaign, and just 15 percent less than Jimmy Carter.

Bonus historical trivia #2: When people list libertarian strongholds, Utah doesn't usually make the list, thanks to the state's tight restrictions on drinking and other pleasures. But on the very short list of post–World War II governors who arguably qualify as "libertarian-leaning," Utah can boast of the one exec who might outdo Gary Johnson: J. Bracken Lee. In 1956 Lee became, as far as I know, the only sitting governor ever to refuse to pay his income tax. And he wasn't a social conservative either—as mayor of Price he tolerated drinking, gambling, and prostitution, and as mayor of Salt Lake City he clashed with police chief W. Cleon Skousen (yes: that W. Cleon Skousen) over budget issues, "vice" issues (including Skousen's attempts to police homosexuality), and Lee's view that Skousen was "practicing Communism to fight it." For a transcript of the two of them berating each other shortly before Lee finally fired Skousen, go here.

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  1. “Once we defeat Other, There’s No Stopping Us!!”

    1. That’s pretty much the rallying cry for every political party, religion, and ethnic or nationalist movement.

      1. Gives me meaning to ‘othering’, huh?

  2. Notes for October:
    Johnson is pro-abortion, pro-exec overreach, bad on religious liberty & naive on national security
    Otherwise “solid”

    ? Ben Sasse (@BenSasse)

    1. Not bad from a guy who looks like a possessed ventriloquist dummy.

      1. You know who else looked like a possessed ventriloquist dummy?

        1. All Gore?

  3. The Mormons do love them some legalized weed.

    1. Only if it’s mixed into ice cream.

    2. And Romney

  4. You know what else Johnson pulled?

    1. Pork?

    2. The Other one?

    3. Do not aks what Johnson pulled. Ask what pulled the Johnson

  5. At this point I’m aware of six national surveys that have included the Johnson ticket.

    We need to get Johnson penetrating as many districts as possible.

    1. That’s a hairy task.

  6. Good. Let’s get this result nationally.

  7. It’s a vas deferens b’twixt Flaccid Johnson pulling and Gelding a Weld…

    1. the original

      “What did the pretentious testicle say to his partner?”
      – “There’s a vas deferens between you and I, you know”

      1. HA! That one *never* gets old! And it’s so versatile!

        1. Sadly it only works with the sub-10% of the population that remembers any high-school biology.

  8. And thanks for never letting us down on the alt-text, Jesse.

  9. I’m not going to predict that he’ll swing Utah to the Clinton column.

    You just *did*

    Isn’t Utah a big gun-state? They may change their view once they digest Weld’s brave stance on hunting rights

    1. You just *did*


      1. By merely suggesting its possibility. Do you not understand the voodoo magic of political punditry? describing a possible outcome is tantamount to actually making it happen in alternate-dimensions. Witness the numerous wars Shihka has foreseen across Europe and Asia.

        1. Well, hell. In that case, there’s a possibility I’ll have grilled lamb chops for dinner tonight.

        2. I see; according to Shiksa Dalmation (h/t Jerryskids), alternate-dimenstion me is possibly a Gazprom oligarch complete with a bevy of concubines, or languishing in a gulag being repeated sexually assaulted with a concrete dildo, or I’m actually Andrew Zimmern caught in a lethal cultural food war waging b’twixt Uzbekistan, Khazakstan, and Chechnija whilst eating goat testicles and boiled turnips.

        3. Donald Trump can start wars around the world…..with only his MIND! Well, and his mouth, apparently.

    2. It’s funny that Reason is touting that. It’s almost an admission that libertarians have more in common with the right than the left and that Johnson’s pitch of appealing to those disenchanted with both parties is bullshit.

      1. Has there ever been a case where Reason sold an LP candidate as one who would swing the election to the Republican? If there is, I can’t think of it.

        And that brings up the question why that is the case? Shouldn’t there be some LP candidate somewhere who swings the election to the Republican? And shouldn’t reason be just as happy about that as they are when one swings it to the Democrat?

        1. That’s probably because the far left is literally the polar opposite of libertarianism. They’re socialists, at best, and it’s kind of hard to put those two things together. They want to collectivize everything, so you might as well ask how you would that in a libertarian fashion.

          The answer, of course, is that you probably can’t unless you’re going to call the ‘free market’ collectivism, although guess what else the left patently hates? Hint: capitalism and free markets.

          Republicans, at one point, were at least paying lip service to these things but the left has been attacking them literally my entire life so is it in any way an actual surprise?

      2. Reason is touting

        Reason is touting NOTHING of the sort.
        You may think individual staffers are touting something. It’s neither the same thing nor necessarily true.

        1. Thanks for that. It always surprises me how supposedly individualistic libertarians so readily collectivize a writer’s article into the official Reason position on an issue. It happens all the time here.

  10. OT

    Who on the board is the paid Putin agent? Guesses anyone?

    1. Since you’re the one bringing it up, I’m pointing the finger at you.

    2. I dunno, the recent reappearance of Groovus is awfully suspect, don’t you think?

      1. Even the KGB couldn’t have broken Groovus. I don’t believe. That man is a rock.

        1. That man is a rock

          That’s what my wife says, John. OFTEN! *wiggles eyebrows*

          Besides JOSHUA said it best when dealing with the Russkij: “The only winning move is not to play.” So, the best place to be is where not one finds FSB.

          1. The average Russian, son, don’t take a dump without a plan.

            1. A five year plan? I gotta say it’s pretty impressive that they can hold it for that long. /sarc

          2. Joe Rockhead or Dash Riprock?

    3. I really don’t know why I’m still not working for RT. With Snowden in Moscow, Crooked Hillary ready to become the next President, and the whole “pen and phone” banana republic stuff I could do Whataboutism at the most advanced level.

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  12. If Trump is the cotton candy and Hillary is the funnel cake, then Johnson is the asparagus. You don’t get excited for veggies but if that’s your only choice for the next 4 years you’ll take it. At least you won’t have to explain to your children how everyone got heart disease and scurvy.

    1. More like trump is the boiled-to-death broccoli and Hillary is the steamed-to-death brussels sprout, and Johnson is the graham cracker. Everyone tells you to eat your veggies, but your heart thinks not.

    2. Johnson does make my pee smell funny.

  13. But on the very short list of post?World War II governors who arguably?qualify as “libertarian-leaning,” Utah can boast of the one exec who might outdo Gary Johnson: J. Bracken Lee. In 1956 Lee?became, as far as I know, the only sitting governor ever to refuse to pay his income tax.

    Damn. What a boss.

  14. Gary Johnson Pulls 16% in Utah Poll

    These abstract euphemisms…

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  16. I don’t think Johnson will throw the vote to Clinton in Utah. Trump is abhorred, true enough. But the Clinton’s are LOATHED in Utah. They were despised even before Bubba made his sudden and enormous illegal land grab — grabbed to squash the extraction of a trillion dollars worth of ultra-clean-burning coal — squashed in order to import the product of his Indonesian Lippo Group financiers.

    Utah is the only state in which Bubba placed third behind Ross Perot….

  17. So essentially, this just means ‘anybody except these two jerks in particular, even if we have literally no idea whatsoever who they are’.

    It’s a brave new world, where no one votes because their options are A or B where both of them are going to strip your liberty it’s only a question of by how much. C might be ok, maybe, but apparently it’s a well-known truism in America that 3rd parties don’t win, and once they do one of the other two parties must eat itself.

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