Gary Johnson

Gary Johnson Survives Hillary Bounce; Still Having Tough Time Convincing Conservatives

Libertarian nominee pulling around 9%, but losing out to Hillary Clinton among Republicans and conservatives


Having the time of his life. ||| Matt Welch
Matt Welch

As he heads into a second CNN prime-time town hall discussion tonight with running-mate William Weld, Libertarian Party presidential nominee Gary Johnson is maintaining his poll support in the wake of last week's Democratic National Convention. There have been five national presidential polls conducted since the conclusion of the DNC; all five have included Johnson, and three have included presumptive Green Party nominee Jill Stein. Here is what they have found:

HC 41% DT 36% GJ 8% JS 4% July 30-Aug. 1, Economist/YouGov

HC 45% DT 37% GJ 9% JS 5% July 29-31, CNN/ORC

HC 43% DT 38% GJ 10%, July 29-31, CBS News

HC 41% DT 36% GJ 11%, July 29-30, Morning Consult

HC 46% DT 41% GJ 6% JS 2%, July 29-30, PPP

(Note that Morning Consult surveys are not collated by the ever-useful RealClearPolitics polling average.)

It is the nature of cross-tabs-squinting and life on the political margins that the best news above may be the polls where Johnson is scoring the lowest. Why? Because they represent all-time highs in both surveys, and we are at a point in the race now where apples-to-apples comparisons across the same polling outfit may tell us the most about trajectories. For instance, here's Economist/YouGov over the past month:

HC 41% DT 36% GJ 8% JS 4%, July 30-Aug. 1

HC 40% DT 38% GJ 5% JS 3%, July 23-24

HC 40% DT 37% GJ 5% JS 4%, July 15-17

HC 40% DT 37% GJ 5% JS 2%, July 9-11

HC 42% DT 37% GJ 4% JS 3%, July 2-4

Similarly, PPP has shown a steady if modest progression for Johnson, from 4 percent (May 6-9) to 5 percent (June 27-28) to this week's 6 percent.

In the other direction, the CNN/ORC number is down from a high of 13 percent in mid-July; the last four percentages there have been 9-9-13-9, suggesting a bit of an outlier. And both CBS News and Morning Consult, which have not been including Jill Stein in their surveys, have consistently measured Johnson at either 10, 11, or 12 percent.

Looking into the breakout numbers two things jump out:

1) Gary Johnson is edging out Donald Trump among nonwhites. In the CNN/ORC poll, nonwhites go 70 percent for Clinton, 8 percent each for Johnson and Stein, 7 percent for Donald Trump. Black voters double up for Johnson and Stein over Trump in PPP (4%-4%-2%), and tie Johnson with Trump in Economist/YouGov (5 percent each, with Stein at 2). Still, the biggest shocker is…

2) Hillary Clinton is thumping Gary Johnson among conservatives. The CNN/ORC poll is brutal on this score, with Clinton nabbing 21 percent of cons versus just 8 percent for Johnson. She also ekes out narrower victories among Republicans in both CNN/ORC and CBS News.

So even though the Libertarian ticket is made up of two former Republican governors, even though Republicans (or former Republicans) have formed the bulk of Johnson's endorsements to date, and even though yesterday saw the announcement of a new group called Republicans for Johnson-Weld, the Libertarians are having a hard time sealing the deal with disaffected members of the Party of Trump. Meanwhile, Johnson remains competitive for the affections of Bernie Sanders voters. This election gets curiouser and curiouser.

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  1. So even though the Libertarian ticket is made up of two former Republican governors, even though Republicans (or former Republicans) have formed the bulk of Johnson’s endorsements to date, and even though yesterday saw the announcement of a new group called Republicans for Johnson-Weld, the Libertarians are having a hard time sealing the deal with disaffected members of the Party of Trump. Meanwhile, Johnson remains competitive for the affections of Bernie Sanders voters. This election gets curioser and curiouser.

    If you think Johnson sucking up to Clinton and taking positions that conservatives don’t agree with will endear him to conservatives …

    1. I don’t know. Trump takes positions almost daily that conservatives should hate and their pretty little heads think he is the bee’s knees.

    2. It’s war, stupid. Clinton is clearly and firmly pro-war. Johnson is anti-war. That’s his biggest problem with winning support from self-identified conservatives.

      1. Because conservative love sending their kids to die for politicians? First off, there has been no declaration of war. Hillary got us into this, she helped create IS. She took down petty dictators in the middle east then armed the opposition who helped IS. What part that don’t you get? The more we bomb the hell out of them the more ammunition we give them to recruit? Are your kids serving? If so do you want them to die for a politician? How long do we pump billions of American tax dollars into Afghanistan? How many more Americans have to die to support a government that takes our money with one hand and slaps us with the other? I’m Fifth generation Navy and I can tell you there has to be a point when you say enough. Afghanistan is looking like Vietnam. Time to pull out and take any loyalist with us like we did in 75.
        With IS? Let’s make it official that it’s war. Let the American people decide it’s war. Right now it’s just Obama’s private little war. He’s spending money and lives playing political games.

    3. “If you think Johnson sucking up to Clinton and taking positions that conservatives don’t agree with will endear him to conservatives …”

      Johnson seems to play up his social liberal aspects and down play his economic conservative aspects. So this result doesn’t seem surprising.

    4. Neocons and socons have no use for Johnson. I’m not surprised at all.

      Johnson is polling very well with independents, ahead of Clinton in some polls.

  2. ‘..the Libertarians are having a hard time sealing the deal with disaffected members of the Party of Trump. ‘
    Almost as if party labels don’t mean anything much for some people and it’s just a ticket to the top table.

  3. The CNN poll was of 894 registered voters, NOT likely voters. The sampling error in the question regarding conservatives choosing 21% for Hillary vs. 8% Johnson is +- 5.5%.

    Sorry, but high sampling error, among self-described “conservatives” among registered, NOT likely voters, means diddly squat.

    Hardly newsworthy.

    1. That question was a breakdown between self-described liberals, moderates, and conservatives. Based on the margin of errors given, conservatives comprised maybe 30% of the sample. So, about 300 people who are conservatives. Which means about 63 of them picked Clinton and about 24 Johnson — and about half of them ain’t gonna vote at all. And, since conservatives leaning toward Clinton are likely disaffected voters, that 63 or so might disproportionately include people who ain’t gonna vote. So maybe 10-30 people in that sample of 900 people are conservatives who are telling a random stranger that they might vote for Clinton.

      And of course, that 900 people sampled includes just those who didn’t bang down the phone as soon as the pollster identified themselves, or blocked the call so it never went through, or were otherwise too busy to respond.

      That estimate of a 5.5% margin of error might need its own margin of error.

      1. Meant to say:

        So maybe 10-30 people in that sample of 900 people are conservatives who are telling a random stranger that they might vote for Clinton, and are actually gonna vote.

        1. Awesome description!!

  4. Great. I just heard about Obumbles making chumps of the American citizens once again by secretly giving Iran half a billion dollars so I am already pissed off. Now I look up and there is an article purporting that Gary Johnson is a libertarian.


        He isn’t very “libertarian”

  5. War is good, drugs are bad. Mkay.

  6. I was ready to vote for GJ – but after his VP’s comments about SC justices, I’m decidedly not going to vote this time around.

    1. *looks up comments*

      Weld is praising Breyer? Jesus.

      1. I guess that’s what passes for libertarian these days.

        1. … among the spineless folks who attend LP conventions and vote for non-libertarians like Weld for VP because Johnson begs them to do so.

          The LP needs to quit voting separately for Prez and VP at their conventions, and just go with the top two candidates, so we can be assured that at least one person on the ticket is actually from the libertarian wing of the Libertarian party and can fucking stay on message.

          1. It might also help if Johnson stopped looking like he’s letting Weld dictate policy choices and had Weld take himself out of the spotlight (and maybe shut up more). While I don’t think Weld is the worst choice he could have made, Johnson’s allowed Weld too much input on the campaign trail as the VP. Johnson is the presidential nominee…he’s the one they should be focusing on.

            This is why you normally see candidates select people as VP who were a step or two below them on the political ladder…they don’t usually bring in a peer (e.g. two governors, two Senators). Politics is filled with Type A personalities who see that as their chance to grab the spotlight for their views rather than the candidate’s views.

            1. And Weld is doing Johnson no favors with conservatives. Also, Johnson’s praise of Clinton isn’t helping. Johnson, like most Democrats and Republicans, has failed to understand why Trump is getting the success he has…it’s because he’s *not* playing nice with scumbags like Clinton. Johnson also doesn’t seem to get that he’s taking the same tack as a lot of the Republicans that Trump crushed. He’s assuming the discussion is about policy promises and it isn’t.

    2. I have finally decided not to vote this year, although the Constitution Party ticket was tempting. I’ve voted Libertarian ever since 1980, but I am done. Not voting is part selfishness on my part, as I am hoping it weans me from following/discussing politics.

      Question to those who do not vote: you’re still following politics if you’re here. Why? Did you get a sense of freedom when you decided to quit voting? Does it give you a sense of “being above it all”?

    3. Yeah, I have to say I’m really leaning towards not voting at all this year. What are the other 3rd party choices?

    4. Wait til you see Trump’s authority-kissing Supreme Court choices.

    5. GJ has said his aim is not to win (because he can’t), but to break the 5% vote to get the LP into the next election’s spotlight.

      If you knew you couldn’t win, but you needed some percentage of votes, and on top of that you didn’t want to see a specific candidate win the Presidency. Whose voters would you be courting?

  7. How is “conservative” defined these days?

    1. C-O-N-S-E-R-V-A-T-I-V-E

    2. Ask Bill Krystal

    3. “If Obama is fer it, we’re agin’ it”

    4. Conservatives are all about fighting change and keeping things the way that they were in the good old days. I’m not the least surprised that they would rather continue fighting with their old nemesis; the great commie threat of democrats. The thought of fighting a new threat like a third-party must be absolutely terrifying to them.

      1. I’m not the least surprised that they would rather continue fighting with their old nemesis

        Not only that, but “deep down in places they don’t talk about at parties,” they know full well that many of the policies Shrillary would pursue are things they support.

        1. Shes a hawk who’s never seen an intervention she didn’t like.
        2. She’s a drug warrior with a history of supporting tough on crime measures like mandatory minimums.
        3. She’s anti-1st amendment
        4. Pretty sure she supports mass surveillance too.

        Basically, she’s the “status quo” candidate. The only things most conservatives disagree with her about is abortion, gay marriage (even on that she was a late convert to the “pro” side, and probably more out of political expediency than anything resembling principles), gun rights, and “free shit”. The real question is why aren’t more “conservatives” voting for her? Because TEAM, I guess.

        1. Gosh, with such gillespie-like insight I really don’t understand why conservatives won’t vote for johnson.

    5. “Cold War was cool, we need it again”?

  8. If your a conservative voting for Hillary, you were never a conservative. Also, Johnson this time is appearing only to reach out to progressive voters and not conservative ones at all. He’s kind of abandoned libertarian principles that jibe with conservatives.

    1. If your a conservative voting for Hillary, you were never a conservative.

      Maybe neocons taking in H’s warboner.

      1. They threatened to go D when W kicked them to the curb. Their loyalty is with a different country.

      2. Neoconservatives are socialists with religion. They were never real conservatives. And yes, the neoconservative friends I have seem to favor Clinton.

      3. …taking in H’s warboner.

        Seriously, is “phrasing” just dead?

  9. “Hillary Clinton is thumping Gary Johnson among conservatives.”

    That can’t be right. I’ve been assured by those who love to quote Reagan that he said libertarianism is part and parcel of the Republican party.

  10. “Hillary Clinton is thumping Gary Johnson among conservatives.”

    There you go. Conservatives are cross dressers as I’ve always suspected.

    1. So *that’s* what “reaching across the aisle” means!

    2. +1 Sexy Bugs Bunny

      1. “The Furry Tushes” would make a good band name.

  11. Republicans for Johnson-Weld

    So who are they? Liz Mair and this guy:

    Nunez served on the George W. Bush and John McCain presidential campaigns, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s gubernatorial campaign, and at the Republican National Committee.

    1. We Are Weld!

      William Weld is what you get if Shit Flopney had been an intolerant, leftist, spendthrift, scotch drenched lush.

  12. It might help if Johnson would have told Weld when talking about Supreme Court appointmenys that he was mistaken on his examples of what Johnson thought a good justice would be and name some that believed in the constitution. Additionally, as Reason has noted, Johnson needs answer to the religious freedom question that is more grounded in libertarian principles. I know it is frustrating when conservatives judge Johnson as if the options were better on this issue but it is what it is.

    1. It might help if Johnson appeared less often with Weld and had him answer fewer questions.

      1. Weld is Svengali to Johnson’s Trilby. Or to use a more au courant millennial-friendly reference like Nick Gillespie would: Weld is Edgar Bergen to Johnson’s Charlie McCarthy.

        1. Agreed…which doesn’t do much to make Johnson look presidential. He looks all too often like he’s the VP candidate instead of Weld. And Weld, being a Massachusetts Republican, isn’t going to have much appeal to conservatives.

  13. “but losing out to Hillary Clinton among Republicans and conservatives”

    Well, this tells me all I need to know about Republicans and conservatives.
    The Republicans will choose big government over Liberty, they are just as bad as the left.

    1. I’ve known this since at least the year 2000.

    2. Tell me again how breyer and garland would make great SC justices and how hillary is a committed public servant. Libertarians are just SJW who favor free trade.

      1. I dont get the Garland comment either… Garland is a statist as far as Damon Root reports, and I tend to agree with Root when I fact check his words. Is it possible Root missed something about Garland?

  14. Republicans who announce they are supporting Hillary: are they pro-war neocons or are they afraid to give a 3rd-party a whiff of legitimacy?
    Do they face less ostracism from their peers by staying within the duopoly?

    1. Socially liberal national security types. They’re not libertarian and would have likely been Democrats in the 50s and 60s.

      1. “…and 70’s. ”

        IE They are Reagan Democrats.

    2. Pro-war neocons.

  15. Makes sense that cons go for HRC. She’s a big government, anti-freedom, pro-war crony who is irritating to listen to and not much fun to look at.

  16. The Conservatives are loving Hillary’s gigantic War Boner.

  17. Hillary Clinton is thumping Gary Johnson among conservatives.

    Probably mostly the Neo-con/ war boner crowd for whom Trump isn’t interventionist enough. They’re willing to overlook other issues they disagree with Her Highness on if it means more blowing shit up and maybe some more ground troops deployed to fight ISIS.

    Those people were never in play for Johnson to begin with.

  18. 1) Funny how 9 months ago the “libertarians need to get with it and fold into the Republicans” yet now that the Republican Party has been destroyed from within, and the libertarians have at least some momentum, the reverse isn’t true.

    2) The average, establishment Republican is to the left of JFK, and the Democrats are just to the right of Karl Marx. They’re both in that fascistic groove of the political spectrum, merely contrasting the way the Strasser Brothers and Hitler contrasted with each other. Unfortunately, our military “column” and our “Junker” column are caving into them versus being societal forces of their own. Hitler, to come to power, had to compromise with cultural elements outside of government. Of course, he demolished them quickly, but we don’t even have that level of resistance at the start.

    3) Since about 2003 I’ve seen everything that is happening and predicted it. I’ve also predicted the coming of the “hardline”. The galvanizing of the hawkish Dems and the Neo-con Repubs will make that hardline. We’re seeing the synthesis of that core that is going to use all sorts of lovely Force and Coercion to make the Balance Sheet balance. They are going to be the ones in charge to make the issue of $80,000,000,000,000 of total individual wealth – liquid AND ILLIQUID – get parsed out to cover the $100,000,000,000,000 accrual basis national debt.

    4) People get the government they deserve – good and hard.

    1. You slander Marx by saying that the Democrats are “just to the right”.

      Marx was a deeply intellectual theorist of socialism and its historical inevitability. Of course, he was wrong about everything, but he offered a somewhat coherent theory. Democrats are more like the Fourier, Proudhon, and Owens socialists (utopian socialists who promise that everybody gets a pony) and milquetoast evolutionary socialists, both of whom that Marx relentlessly criticized in Critique of the Gotha Programme and elsewhere. The utopian socialists envision a society that is far more extreme left and certainly more totalitarian than Marx’s vision.

      1. At least it’s an ethos.

    2. Funny how libertarians tthink they’re entitled to the conservative vote but resented being told the opposite.

  19. It strikes me that Johnson/Weld really *are* “wrong within normal parameters” here. I’m not real happy with Johnson’s remarks about religious freedom, and I’m especially not happy with Weld given his positions in the past–that Breyer comment is especially troubling. But compared to the other two candidates, they’re a lot closer to my positions.

    1. Plus, as they have said (and shown), they aren’t running for dictator. Johnson can sign or veto what Congress brings him, so most of the fine points of disagreement on philosophy are completely irrellevant. And they’re not crazy. I’m quite happy to have them on the ballot.

  20. I have given GJ and the LP some money, but I’ll be writing in John McAfee. Maybe it’s best if Gary just goes away before he embarrasses us any more. I really don’t know if him being in the debates is a good thing. And as I said on the morning of the LP nomination on The Washington journal Weld is an infiltrator.

  21. PPP shouldn’t be included in any average with respectable polls.

  22. Given that one reason Republicans may be abandoning Trump is his pro-Putin ties, wavering support for NATO, and seeming admiration for China’s handling of Tiananmen Square, maybe they are also weary of Johnson because they don’t quite know yet what “non-interventionism” for Johnson means. Johnson might be able to win their support by assuring everyone that he understands the threat posed by Putin and China and that deterring Russian aggression in Eastern Europe and Chinese aggression in Asia/Pacific and the South China Sea is consistent with his understanding of a non-interventionist foreign policy, assuming it actually is.

    1. Funny how quickly his anti-Sharia stance disappeared… Did it even make it to Valentines day? And GJs breathy support of planned parenthood is, in a word: fuckingstupidbullshit. These are just two of the reasons his support with conservatives is erroding… These are positions that Austin Petersen wouldn’t have screwed up… The real question is: does GOP warboner Trump GOP small government ethos? War is the blood of the State. Is the GOP prowar stance the poison pill to their limited government dreams?

  23. Gary Johnson appears to be doing little to attract disaffected Republicans by concentrating on issues that don’t appeal to them. If Johnson does poorly in the general he has only himself to blame.

  24. Congratulations on splitting the conservative/libertarian vote and assuring Hillary’s coronation. Reason will be very busy over the next eight years.

  25. Gary Johnson has a hard time convincing libertarians, let alone conservatives

  26. i get paid over ?79.91 per hour working from home with 2 kids at home. I never thought I’d be able to do it but my best friend earns over ?9185 a month doing this and she convinced me to try. The potential with this is endless. Heres what I’ve been doing,……


  27. Nonsense. Correlation is not necessarily causation. You can’t make this case, “Libertarians are having a hard time sealing the deal with disaffected members of the Party of Trump,” until you’ve communicated the deal to them. Most of these people don’t know Johnson is running–and that can change quickly.
    But thanks for the reminder. I haven’t been answering my YouGov surveys, lately. I need to get back to that (although I am a big L Libertarian, not a conservative Republican).

  28. Libertarians can’t convince conservatives in name only (CINOs) . . . and that’s the majority.

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