Gary Johnson

First Relevant Poll in Nearly a Month Is Very Bad News for Gary Johnson's Debate Prospects

Fox News has the Libertarian at 9%, making his national average in the polls that matter 9.2% with two-plus weeks before the 15% cutoff


Since the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) on Aug. 15 announced the five polls that it would be averaging from in mid-September to determine whether Libertarian Party nominee Gary Johnson had passed the steep 15 percent threshold for inclusion in this fall's debates, the Johnson campaign and other observers have been waiting on tenterhooks for new polling results. And waiting, and waiting….

In a striking coincidence, none of the five polls, until tonight, had issued a peep for the past three weeks, despite two of them (NBC News/Wall Street Journal and ABC News/Washington Post) previously averaging results every three weeks, and two others (CNN/ORC and CBS News) polling voters three times each in the admittedly convention-heavy month of July alone. Well, the fifth poll, Fox News, finally dropped tonight, and the results are terrible for Gary Johnson's debate prospects: 41 percent for Hillary Clinton, 39 percent for Donald Trump, 9 for Johnson, and 4 for Green Party nominee Jill Stein. If the debate commission were making its calculations today, Johnson would be at 9.2 percent, nowhere remotely close to inclusion.

The news for Johnson is, if anything, worse than that.

Up until now, Fox News hadn't included Stein in the polls, and Gary Johnson had averaged exactly 11 percent. In the absence of any broadly observed Libertarian decline in national surveys, that suggests a possible two-point Stein Effect, one that is also observable in the research from the firm Morning Consult: In four Stein-less polls conducted in July, Morning Consult recorded a Johnson average of 11 percent; in four polls since he's been at 8.5 (with the Green candidate at 4). Since one other firm of the Big Five, CBS News, has also not polled Stein previously, and since that survey has averaged just north of percent for Johnson in four polls since June, it's not hard to imagine the Libertarian rolling another 9-spot if and when Stein is included.

So will CBS start asking about Stein? "We don't discuss timing or makeup of polls prior to their release," said Director of Communications Caitlin Conant in an email. The word "timing" here key—there are only 16 days until mid-September, so if these polls are conducted at August's slow rate, the next results may well be Johnson's last. (None of the other polls responded to my requests about when they will ask or publish.) And the optics of starting off at 10 percent—the five-poll average three weeks ago—and then going down to 9 percent, even if explained mostly by the inclusion of Stein, do not tell a helpful story about momentum.

A campaign that has invested nearly all its energy to either get in those polls or it's "game over" will, in the absence of drastically better news coming from one of the other four polls, soon need to refocus the effort from making that 15 percent to agitating in the court of public opinion that the standard itself is self-dealing and bogus, and needs to be changed or otherwise somehow worked around. In any case, time is clearly running out.

NEXT: Read a Classified Email Hillary Clinton Sent From Her Personal 2013!

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.


      1. Why don’t you put her in charge?

    1. That was fast, SIV. I guess you don’t own too many shirts.

  2. Jill Stein steals the Liberaltarian vote.

    1. She stole the bad at math voters from Sanders. It’s difficult to Fathom that sort of ignorance.

  3. No one waa expecting him to win. No one.

    1. Underdogs everywhere have a sads.

    2. Then why is Reason arguing that we should vote for him? He sure as hell isn’t educating the public about libertarianism.

      1. Then why is Reason arguing that we should vote for him?

        At least KM-W argues you shouldn’t vote for anyone.

      2. Because Trump and Clinton are far worse.

        1. But if Johnson can’t win, then voting for him does nothing to prevent Trump or Clinton from winning.

          1. You’re that lawman character from Deadwood!

  4. I’m guessing Fox got wise to Johnson and Stein taking more from Clinton than Trump so including her has the effect of making the race look closer.

  5. What a shame. Seriously.


    1. It’s also unseemly to see SIV orgasming all over the thread.

  6. Face it Welch. We live in a libertarian version of The Truman Show. Or was it Tracey Ullman? I forget.

    9% is as good as it gets. Celebrate it!

  7. The greatest threat to America isn’t China, Russia, ISIS, or Trump, but the war monger and sworn enemy of liberty – Hillary Clinton as president.

    1. As already noted.

      She cares not for your country. She cares about Hillary Inc.

      The email thing is just a sniff and whiff of her mendacious and callous disregard of American security.

      It’s not plausible or logical to accept any excuses for such a sorry, lame ass display of cavalier petulance.

    2. Trump being a nearly indistinguishable second.

      1. Trump doesn’t have a record as a public official.

        1. Neither does Justin Beiber.

          1. Beiber would build a wall of teenage girls.

            1. So we’re getting Roman Polanski back?

    3. I think the American voters are the greatest threat to America. They elected Bush and Obama, and now they’re set to elect Trump or Clinton.

  8. OT: My cousin and his Spanish cousin are visiting from Spain. It’s interesting to hear her talk lowly of the EU and how it’s disintegrating. Europeans particularly, apparently, hate that education is mandated from Brussels.

    1. The Europeans I’ve met tend to start with what sounds like they want a decentralization of power, but then they make it clear they just want it moved to another location.

  9. Disappointing to be sure, but he’s still polling higher than 10% in several states and close to 10% in even more. That’s still a tremendous accomplishment in of itself. So there’s my positive view of things.

    1. That’s pathetic given the despised major party candidates, and the degree to which he compromised libertarianism.

      1. Ugh. Since you put it that way.

        That’s sobering.

        1. Libertarians got any other former governors on the bench for 2020?
          Prepare to return to the obscurity level of the Constitution Party.
          At least you’ll have your purity back.

      2. I am not surprised, motherfuckers. People are not rational and for the most part not even free to decide for whom to vote. The tribal conditioning is so deep it would be like trying to drive on the wrong side of the road or trying to wipe your ass with the other hand. Most people are not introspective enough to realize how they are slaves of their political habits.

        1. ^ This

      3. There is zero proof a libertarian purist would have done better than 3%. ZERO. Johnson is doing as well as he is solely because of the credibility he brings to the LP as former governor and his willingness to, in the minds of apparently 1/10th of the electorate, go against the worst impulses of both parties.

        Maybe he isn’t charismatic enough to win over more than 10% but shitting on him for failing libertarianism when none of the other clowns he was running against could have done half as well is Hit & Runpublican bullshit.

        1. Gary Johnson supporters ARE the Hit & Runpublicans. Trump is the outsider candidate this election cycle.
          He;’s a pure 3rd Party/Independent who seized the GOP ballot line. Just like Johnson and Weld are a couple of has-been center-left Republican governors who’ve seized the Libertarian one.

          1. Trump is an unprincipled egomaniac, who is fine with the government abusing power if he believes he will benefit from it.

            So, basically, just like HRC, just with different emphasis.

            Just what is your “single issue,” SIV? Abortion? Trade? Immigration?

            Single Issue Voter, right?

            1. No, simian immunodeficiency virus.

            2. Cockfighting

        2. I think the poor interviewing skills are his main problem. Nearly every interview I’ve seen there has been at least one question where the interviewer offered up an opportunity to really flesh out his stance on an issue and he wasted it by giving a scripted answer. His c-span interview was near-perfect, but he’s lucky if 1000 people saw that one.

          1. A third party candidate winning would take a miracle. Gary Johnson is no miracle. He has the charisma of a toothbrush.

            1. He has the charisma of a toothbrush.

              this made me chuckle for like 2-3mins. it seemed to get better the more i thought about it.

              Which then lead me to try and find a very-dynamic-and-exciting toothbrush.

              This is the best i could do. everything else was for kiddies. (except for the schlong-one)

              1. The penis one appears to have the bristles on the wrong end. That is strange in so many ways.

            2. He has the charisma of a toothbrush.

              And I can rely on a toothbrush to effectively get my teeth clean.

              If Gary Johnson won in a landslide tomorrow, I have trouble conceptualizing what exact sweeping libertarian reforms would take place let alone which one’s the rest of the machine would allow to happen. The only definitive policy-level thing that I’ve heard him propose and/or know would happen is that Weld would put together a 1000-person gun reform task force.

          2. I agree. Johnson is what he is and he’s shown little interest in adapting into a better candidate. The real misfortune is that there’s no other equally credible candidates to take his place but you go into battle with the army you have.

            1. Quoting Donald Rumsfeld in support of lesser-of-evils voting…. this is what capital-L Libertarians have been reduced to.

              I’m just waiting for y’all to complain that it’s not fair for the polls to include Jill Stein because she steals Johnson’s votes. That will be full circle.

        3. There is zero proof a libertarian purist would have done better than 3%. ZERO.

          Absolutely this!

          1. 3% is more than 3 times GayJay’s vote percentage in 2012, and back then he was at least running as a libertarian.

            1. I don’t think he was any more libertarian then, just more scrutinized now. But he was awful in the Republican debates.

        4. There is zero proof a libertarian purist would have done better than 3%.

          I don’t know where you pulled that random # from

          but i don’t think the argument about Gary’s particularly awful-squishiness was ever trying to claim that he’d “do better” by being a more-sincere and principled* libertarian

          (*forget “purist” – because no one knows exactly what that means anyway)

          I think the idea was that, regardless of whether he gets 3% of the popular vote, or 5%, or 2%, that a more-principled LP candidate would at least have provided a campaign which got a lot of attention no matter what….

          (due mainly to the awfulness of the major party candidates rather than any libertarian appeal)

          …. and that greater exposure? would get a lot of people talking and thinking about *actual* libertarian ideas like ‘self-ownership’, ‘free association’, the NAP,, etc.

          Which could possibly be worth more than a one-off-candidacy that happens to get a higher % of the vote than it has in the past. Either way they’re going to lose – why not *do something productive* with that loss?

          IOW, a “protest vote” which provided a distinct & principled libertarian view would actually be of more-value in the long run than …what we have right now, which is a mushy-pulp of random policies thrown into a “economically conservative/socially liberal”-basket.

          1. Johnson took two issues that right-leaning-libertarians in particular care deeply about and feel very threatened on — gun rights and freedom of association — and spat in our faces (and on the libertarian position) because he thought it would help him with the MSM elites.

            So yeah, fuck him, and those who accuse us of wanting a “purist”. It’s astounding that he managed to lose my vote when the alternatives were Trump and Clinton.

          2. I know I’m late, but in case you reread this thread …

            What reason is there to think a “more principled” LP candidate would get any more attention than Jill Stein does? The LP has run plenty of candidates, and they usually get about 0.5% of the vote. Never significantly above 1%. Doctrinaire libertarians are less than 1% of the electorate. Maybe slightly more of the total population as a lot of them don’t vote. We are never going to go from that status quo to the majority of the country suddenly becoming strict, principled libertarians.

          3. If you cannot win 51% then STFU. Do you not know how this works?

        5. There is zero proof a libertarian purist would have done better than 3%.

          There’s a lot of fucking space between “purist” and wholesale trashing of libertarian views on gun rights and freedom of association in the interest of pleasing media elites.

          Johnson is doing as well as he is solely because of the credibility he brings to the LP as former governor

          He had that in 2012 and got less than 1%. He also loses 20% of his poll numbers to Jill Stein when she is included in polls, indicating that many of those who support him in polls are just looking for someone not named Trump or Clinton.

          I do agree that the LP’s field of candidates was pretty weak. I don’t have anything personal against GJ, and think he could have done much better. The strategy of trying to appeal to media elites and making “getting into the debates” priority #1, even at the expense of the libertarian message, was very misguided.

      4. Compromising libertarianism will cost him half the LP vote, or 0.25 percent.

        1. And THAT, is the reality.

          And he’s more libertarian than the other two idiots by a factor of 10.

          1. Voting for the lesser evil only makes sense if it can stop the greater evil.

            1. OR you’re a libertarian and the Libertarian candidate is 10x more libertarian than everyone else running.

              1. AND the other two options are the worst two pieces of shit EVER to be nominated.

            2. Yep. Was always happy to vote for the LP out of principle, but if Johnson is just the worst of three evils, then I’m better off with the least of the two, who can actually win. And as long a Trump is hated by the media, the congress and the courts, then his administration will be the most libertarian we’ve ever seen, regardless of how much of an authoritarian he might like to be.

        2. For a libertarian, you don’t seem to understand opportunity cost.

          Ross Perot got 19% in 1992 and 8.4% in 1996. What kind of impact did his runs have on American politics? Now 20 years later, if you asked 1000 random people on the street what his positions were, I would be floored if more than 1 or 2 would know.

          Johnson won’t come close to either of those numbers in the real election this year. So tell me what good compromising libertarianism for a few percent (assuming he manages that) did for him.

          1. All I remember about Perot was that he was pro-tariff, but at this point I don’t even know if that’s factual. I would look it up before posting, but that seems like cheating.


    Burn it all down!

    1. Pretty sure this is a nam-shub, and if you click it you’ll find yourself comatose.

  11. This is why it pisses me off every time he says there’s no way he can win if he doesn’t get into the debates.

    1. Exactly. Don’t give up until the votes are counted.

      1. Do you think Gary Johnson can win?

        Or to put it in a more practical sense: which do you think is more likely, Gary Johnson winning or a eunuch midget winning every state lottery every day for the rest of the year? I’d bet on the midget.

  12. He was never getting in. Even if he somehow got the 15% average, they would’ve moved the goalposts.

    1. ^This

      It would have gone from 15 percent average to over 15 percent in every poll…

    2. Sour grapes are a helluva drug.

  13. If Gary ends up without getting a Trump nickname, game over.

    1. “Goofy Gary” is pretty obvious. Also accurate.

      1. Neither of those two nicknames is an insult given the other choices.

  14. Hey, without at least $50 mil on ads there is no way Johnson could have become known to enough voters to reach 15% in the polls. While we assume “everyone” has heard of him, the reality is that even most of the 9% support he is getting is only vaguely aware other than he isn’t Trump or Clinton. So where would the $50 million have come from? Even $1,000 from all, let’s say, 30,000 committed libertarians wouldn’t be enough. Maybe the only answer is a candidate who is actually on the Kochs’ puppet strings?

    1. GayJay is well-funded by #NeverTrump RINO rent seekers. He has ads running all over Fox News and Rush Limbaugh

      1. You’re using RINO facetiously, right? Because you of all people can’t be too concerned with conservative credentials given the candidate you’re boosting.

    2. 50 million doesn’t help and isn’t needed. People have Facebook.

      1. Yes, but aren’t these polls done through landlines? I’m pretty sure that Facebook and landlines are mutually exclusive.

    3. …. Creech cashes his paycheck from Soros….

    4. In this field of candidates, being unknown is a benefit, not a curse. The fact that he loses voters to Jill Stein when she’s included shows that much of his support is from people who don’t know who he (or she) is.

  15. Oh, and look on the bright side. GJ getting 9% means he’s getting more support from the general public than Jeb! got in the Republican primaries.

    1. That 9% or 6% is gonna be less than 1% come November

      1. I’ll bet you it doesn’t go tounder 1%, and it definitely won’t drop to the .04% or less any of the other potential LP candidates would have got.

      2. It’ll be way over 1 percent. He got 1 percent last time, when he wasn’t included in the polls or was at 2 percent.

    2. What would Gary Johnson have gotten in the Republican primaries?

  16. I think this analysis is spot-on
    (tho the headline is a bit sensational)

    The West Can Have Burkinis or Democracy, But Not Both

    The part that i think is correct is (paraphrased) = “The EU (or French) courts, politicians etc. will overturn xenophobic measures like the burkini ban, but the popular sentiment which supported the measures will not be lessened in the process”

    as the author puts it =

    Political elites in the most liberal democracies will therefore face more and more dramatic versions of the choice faced by France’s constitutional court: They can either heed the anger of their constituents ? turning their countries into places where the people rule but individual rights are regularly violated. Or they can insulate the political system from the views of the people by giving more and more power to unelected institutions like constitutional courts, independent bureaucratic institutions, or international organizations ? turning their countries into places where individual rights are upheld but the views of the people go ignored.

    Thinking that legal-victory guarantees swifter cultural accommodation (or any at all) is what the mistake is here. In fact, its possible (at least with moozies in the EU) that it can make things worse.

    1. Not that Burkini bans aren’t interesting, but I’ve been checking out what the alt-right is about. White identity politics seems to be the only theme that unites them. Too bad given an “alternative right” had potential.

      1. but I’ve been checking out what the alt-right is about

        This is pretty much all you need to know.

        1. I had no idea Gamergate was an Alt-Right phenomenon.

          1. weev said it was the best recruitment tool he’s seen.

          2. It’s a meme made by anally annihilated feminist internet Maoists, what do you expect?

        2. Is that Crowter?

            1. Fedor will crush you.

    2. There’s no conceivable justification for a burkini ban, libertarian or otherwise.
      Now if you want to ban wearing a full veil into a bank, on the grounds that video can’t easily identify bank robbers later, at least that makes some sense.

      1. There’s no conceivable justification for a burkini ban, libertarian or otherwise.

        I don’t think you understood my point, because it wasn’t about trying to justify anything.

        it was more about the fact that “the law” isn’t a leading indicator of cultural trends.

  17. Trump is talking about immigration right here in Phoenix tonight.

    Question: if a Muslim baker wants to emigrate to America and he takes Trump’s certification questionnaire, will Trump keep him out if he says he doesn’t want to bake a cake for a gay couple because of his religion?

    1. Has trump ever said anything very-specific about the “religious liberty” thing?

      I imagine his views on it, like everything else, are ‘malleable’ depending on the moment.

      1. So Trump is susceptible to changing his views based on public opinion, and Hillary is susceptible to changing her views based on bribes?

        So Trump’s character is at least one order of magnitude less shitty than Hillary’s.

        Clearly Giant Douche is better than Turd Sandwich.

    2. You could always ban gay weddings, like Clinton used to support banning them.

      1. Roll-on or Spray?

  18. Work oppertunity: Start your work at home right now. Spend more time with your family and earn. Start bringing 85USD/hr just on a laptop. Very easy way to make your life happy and earning continuously.last week my check was 24551USD pop over here this site


  19. Work oppertunity: Start your work at home right now. Spend more time with your family and earn. Start bringing 85USD/hr just on a laptop. Very easy way to make your life happy and earning continuously.last week my check was 24551USD pop over here this site


  20. Work oppertunity: Start your work at home right now. Spend more time with your family and earn. Start bringing 85USD/hr just on a laptop. Very easy way to make your life happy and earning continuously.last week my check was 24551USD pop over here this site


  21. Libertarians screwed by the authoritarian establishment. Same old same old.

  22. Isn’t there still time for him to make it into one of the later debates? Thought I heard something about that. Most people don’t really pay attention to elections until after Labor Day, so his numbers may improve, especially if the roughly 50% of non-voters start to notice him.

  23. as Leslie implied I’m in shock that you able to earn $7211 in four weeks on the computer . go to this web-site

  24. Alexa . you think Kathleen `s posting is impossible… last wednesday I got a great volvo after having made $5563 this-last/5 weeks and-over, 10 grand this past-munth . with-out a doubt this is the most financialy rewarding Ive ever done . I began this 7-months ago and straight away started making a nice over $70, p/h . pop over to this site


  25. You see, if Johnson had taken my advice he wouldn’t have invested himself in this tentacle of the duopoly (CPD) and instead would have been trying to bypass it and make it irrelevant, and challenge Hillary and Trump to *real* debates.

    By saying it’s game over if he doesn’t jump through the duopoly’s own hoops, he’s sabotaging himself.

    Captain Kirk wouldn’t have done this – he would have realized that the only way to win the CPD’s game is not to play.

    It’s still time to abandon the retarded CPD strategy, make them the adversary, and challenge the duopoly candidates to *real* debates. Johnson can join with “responsible third party candidates” (however he defines them) who can stage a debate of their own, with empty chairs for Trump and Hillary, or (as I keep arguing) with celebrity proxies for Trump and Hillary to spice things up a bit. (“Filling in for Hillary is Natalie Portman“).

    Or Weld can put on a chicken outfit and attend Hillary and Trump rallies carrying a sign reading “Too Chicken to Debate?”

    Weld ought to be doing *something* useful.

    1. Captain Kirk would be making love to Uhura or some alien life form. Probably not Sulu.

      1. Captain Pike would stick with his Companion.

        1. That was Zephram Cochrane. Pike got Vina.

    2. Johnson can join with “responsible third party candidates” (however he defines them) who can stage a debate of their own, with empty chairs for Trump and Hillary, or (as I keep arguing) with celebrity proxies for Trump and Hillary to spice things up a bit. (“Filling in for Hillary is Natalie Portman”).

      He should totally hold a veteran’s benefits fundraiser the night of the debate. There are enough disaffected GOPers and mainline Dems to do something significant. How many ‘rebuttal to the SOTU’s did we get the last time Barry did one?

      1. That could only work to Hillary’s benefit. People actually like Natalie Portman.

  26. So use the media bully pulpit. Washington times just reporting Americans want to see Gary. Backup plan…set up debate with Jill stein from 7-9 pm before other debate on cable or streaming. Then hope you get bump for last two.

  27. I remember when the League of Women Voters ran debates. Since Ross Perot scared the shit out of the Democratic and Republican parties. They took over the whole process.

  28. My dear, the next five minutes can change your life!
    Give a chance to your good luck.
    Read this article, please!
    Move to a better life!
    We make profit on the Internet since 1998! ?????

  29. I’m making over $9k a month working part time. I kept hearing other people tell me how much money they can make online so I decided to look into it. Well, it was all true and has totally changed my life. This is what I do…. Go to tech tab for work detail..

  30. Start working at home with Google! It’s by-far the best job I’ve had. Last Wednesday I got a brand new BMW since getting a check for $6474 this – 4 weeks past. I began this 8-months ago and immediately was bringing home at least $77 per hour. I work through this link, go to tech tab for work detail.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.