Gary Johnson

More than 900,000 People Tuned In to Watch This Week's CNN Libertarian Town Hall

Libertarian ticket still introducing itself.


Reason TV

Nearly a million people tuned in to CNN on Wednesday night towatch a town hall with Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson and his running mate William Weld, with 320,000 viewers in the 25-54 demographic, about twice as many viewers as CNN got in the same slot the night before, when it aired a Chris Cuomo (also the host of the town hall) special on the Paris attack investigations, according to Nielsen ratings, but 100,000 viewers less than the regular airing of Anderson Cooper in that time slot the Wednesday before.

The town hall was an opportunity for Johnson and Weld to introduce the Libertarian ticket to a general political news audience. "It can't be bigger," Johnson told Matt Welch before the town hall. "I mean really, this is really, really big." Google searches for Johnson, Weld, and the Libertarian party spiked the night of the town hall. Welch wrote of the town hall that Johnson tried to be "likeable" and "pragmatic," undercutting the latter by going for the former. "Johnson spent too much time communicating his values defensively, sometimes confusingly, while failing repeatedly under cross-examination to draw clarifying distinctions between the theoretically ideal and the politically plausible," Welch wrote.

There have not been any polls taken fully after the town hall. Johnson averages 8.6 percent in three-way match-ups with Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton and 7 percent in four-way match-ups that also include presumptive Green party presidential nominee Jill Stein.

Watch Reason TV's "CNN's Libertarian Town Hall in 3 Minutes" below:

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  1. 900,000 saw Johnson embarrass himself, then.

    1. 900,000 Unimpressed By Floppy Johnson

      1. But in all honesty a candidate hewing to pure libertarian principles would scare off a lot more voters than he’d attract. We are not going to win this in one stroke; there must be incrementalism. And incrementalism means that somebody will have to be in the back of the line. Sorry, that’s reality.

        1. I know, but i’m not one to let ideas i agree with get in the way of a cheap joke.

    2. That’s OK. Probably 600,000 now know there’s a choice. Wait til Hillary and Donald actually go negative. That strategy works well – but only if there’s no third way out.

    3. How much of that is hospitals, airports, TV displays and other waiting rooms?

      I bet corrected for that the only people watching voluntarily were named Johnson and Weld.

  2. “Libertarian ticket still introducing itself”

    It’s a ticket of wealth and taste. It’s been around for a long, long time. So have some respect.

    1. That last sentence should have been “led many a vote to waste.”

      1. Woo woo!

  3. I like Ed’s positive spin of ‘nearly one million.’

  4. Yeah, I think Johnson blew it. No polish, no firm answers, and terrible delivery. He seemed more confused than the audience.

    After that debacle, I had to remind myself why I was going to vote libertarian. It was rough.

    1. I stopped watching after the would you vote for Clinton or Trump question. At least Johnson said he knew a libertarian would be on the ticket so neither, but Weld… that fucker… without even thinking says Clinton.

      This is probably the best opportunity the libertarian party has ever had, and they put forward Johnson and Weld as torchbearers. Who is the stupid party again?

      1. Better than the other options. This is what we get.

  5. So rounding up to 1,000,000 viewers for easier math, that means 0.3% of Americans saw this.

    Assuming all viewers will vote in the election and that the number of voters this election will be comparable to the last, that’s 0.7% of voters.

    Assuming no people who voted Libertarian last election watched this and that everyone who watched it was converted to Feeling the Johnson, this means Johnson will get 1.7% of the votes this year.

    So with a bunch of generous assumptions we’re like most of the way to 2%!!

    I’m not really even trying to be cynical but when I look at the numbers you are citing it just… doesn’t seem promising.

    1. Actually, saying it like that makes me feel better. At first I saw just the size of the number and was like, Shit! that many people saw that train wreck. but you make me more optimistic

  6. Just saw this on demand last night. My take: Cuomo, B-. Aside from the BLM crap not too bad. Johnson, C+. Ron or Rand could articulate this stuff better and they’re not Libertarians. Constantly deferring to Weld, also not a Libertarian. Overall sounded like a moderate republican who hasn’t read the party platform. Weld, F. Incessantly bragging about his career as a statist insider. His endorsement of Clinton as “qualified” to be president was pretty astonishing.
    I’m not a big L libertarian but I’ll probably still vote for these clowns. Lesser of the 3 evils.

  7. 900,000 watched the GayJay debacle? That doesn’t bode well for the LP’s vote percentage come November.

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