Gary Johnson

Where Gary Johnson and Jill Stein Are Strongest

Which states are the most fertile territories for alternative candidates?

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National Geographic

At last we have a national presidential poll that includes a state-by-state breakdown of support for Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson and Green nominee Jill Stein. It was published by The Washington Post this morning, and it offers a useful glimpse at where the two minor-party candidates are strongest.

Needless to say, this is just one poll. It has its oddities—it shows Texas as a toss-up between Trump and Clinton—and it obviously isn't as strong a guide as an average of several surveys. It also leaves out D.C., due to a small sample size in the district. But it's a much bigger banquet of data than what we had before. What does it show?

Gary Johnson's strongest state, unsurprisingly, is New Mexico, where he served as governor from 1995 to 2003. At 25 percent, he is within striking distance of Donald Trump, who is presently polling at 29. (Hillary Clinton still enjoys a comfortable lead in the state, with 37 percent of voters supporting her.)

Johnson's second strongest state, also unsurprisingly, is Utah, where the Post poll shows him getting 23 percent. Utah has the least libertarian reputation of the Mountain West states, but Trump is unpopular with its heavily Mormon population, so the situation there is kind of weird this year. (Trump is still likely to carry the state, but not by the enormous margins recently enjoyed by GOP nominees.) Here again, Johnson is within striking distance of second place: Clinton currently has 27 percent. Note, though, that the Post survey leaves out independent candidate Evan McMullin, a Mormon conservative whose campaign is going nowhere nationally but may eat into Johnson's support in Utah. And just to amp up the uncertainty, Utah is also the one state in the Post poll where the number of undecided voters is in the double digits. (It's at 11 percent.)

Johnson's third-best states are Alaska (which has a history of awarding alternative candidates strong showings), Idaho, and South Dakota, all of which give him 19 percent. Other places where Johnson gets 15 percent or more include Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, Rhode Island (!), Washington, and Wyoming. He's in double digits in 41 42 of the 50 states; his weakest support is in Mississippi, where he's getting just 4 percent.

In an ordinary election, 4 percent would be an unusually high total for the Libertarian even in a more ideologically sympatico state. But this is, as you may have gathered, not an ordinary election.

Stein is behind Johnson in virtually every state. (Hawaii is a toss-up.) But she's still polling pretty well for a minor-party candidate. The one state giving her double digits is Vermont, where her total stands at 10 percent. Second place is nearby Maine, where she's receiving 8 percent; she's getting 7 percent in Alaska, California, Hawaii, Idaho (!), Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Washington.

It is traditional when reporting such results to note that minor parties tend to poll better earlier in the campaign than on Election Day: Many dissatisfied voters will flirt with alternative candidates before deciding in the end to hold their noses and vote for whichever major-party nominee frightens them the least. And that may well happen this time as well, though usually the effect would have started to kick in by now. But in a way that makes these numbers all the more valuable. Support for third-party and independent candidates can serve as a map-by-proxy of where our binary political system is doing the poorest job of representing the full spectrum of political opinion, information that is not just interesting in itself but is particularly important at a time when we may be going through a party realignment. If there's a substantial number of people who feel seriously tempted to vote for one of those additional options but can't bring themselves to break out of the red-blue box in November, a September poll is all the more useful in figuring out just where that dissatisfaction is clustered.

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  1. Trump, the non-politician outsider, is the largest beneficiary of the usual 3rd party/independent candidate votes. GayJasy is going to have troble besting his 0.99% from 2012.

    1. GayJasy is going to have troble! You heard it here first.

      1. SIV was distracted by a new collection of retro boudoir photos.

        1. “I can only get off if i know the person pictured has died of old age.”

      2. GayJasy’s Troble would be a great name for the band that forms out of the break up of Ozric Tentacles, A Silver Mt. Zion, and Secret Chiefs 3.

        1. You scared me there for a sec. Ozrics are still together and currently touring the UK.

    2. Holy shit are you delusional. My prediction for Johnson is 10+ million votes.

    3. My brother’s friend Bryan showed me how I can make some cash while working from my home on my computer… Now I earn $86 every hour and I couldn’t be happier… Before this job I had trouble finding job for months but now when I got this gig I wouldn’t trade it for nothing. Start this website
      go web and click tech tab for more info work… http://goo.gl/AzTMwA

    4. My brother’s friend Bryan showed me how I can make some cash while working from my home on my computer… Now I earn $86 every hour and I couldn’t be happier… Before this job I had trouble finding job for months but now when I got this gig I wouldn’t trade it for nothing. Start this website
      go web and click tech tab for more info work… http://goo.gl/AzTMwA

  2. “It also leaves out D.C., due to a small sample size in the district.”

    And the fact that we already know it will go 120% for Hillary.

  3. Jesse, I don’t care. A vote for Johnson or Stein is a vote for HRC and against Trump, the current libertarian standard-bearer.

    1. Doesn’t a standard-bearer have to actually bear the standard?

      1. Or have standards? Even double ones?

    2. Do you ever lie in bed at night, staring up at the ceiling, and contemplate what you’re doing with your life? As the seconds of your life pass, your cells die, your teeth rot, your heart weakens, do you mutter to yourself, “The fuck am I doing?”

        1. I was speaking from personal experience, of course.

        1. Shit, I think I was in your head recently.

      1. I’m bummed out because there are so many people that I want to kill.

    3. You don’t even care enough to try anymore. Bad, lazy trolling. Sad!

      1. Sad!

        The summary of amsoc’s entire life.

        1. When amsoc first started posting here, he tried to make actual arguments; when those were repeatedly shot down by, you know, logic and historical fact, he turned into this petulant thing you see now. It’s pretty pathetic, but if that’s how he wants to spend his time he has only himself to blame.

          1. Those who resist us are driven away or driven mad.

          2. if that’s how he wants to spend his time he has only himself to blame.

            I guess it beats the hell out of paying his fucking mortgage.

            1. Well, he also ran the blockade that one time so he could tell Cubans how lucky they are not to be oppressed by the availability of McDonalds and non-government-approved viewpoints.

              1. A real working class hero…

                1. is something to be.

              2. This is why I try to never reveal any personal anecdotes. You fuckers are ruthless. And poor amsoc just wanted to shake Che’s hand.

  4. What does it say about the Greens that independently minded voters prefer Johnson by more than a 2-1 or 3-1 margin pretty much everywhere?

    1. That most of their platform has been subsumed into Democratic policy?

      Hitler?

      1. If they prefer Hillary to the Greens by that kind of margin, then they must not care very much about what the Greens are selling.

        America looks at the Greens and DO NOT WANT.

        The story for a while has been about how Johnson is taking as much or more support away from Hillary than he is from Trump.

        Again, that means independently minded voters–even the would-be Hillary supporters–are looking for alternatives, looking at the Greens and DO NOT WANT.

  5. I like Gary Johnson but his campaign is over. The post Labor Day third party decline has begun and he will not be in any debate. The media, having realized that Johnson takes more votes from Hillary than from Trump, will begin their “Johnson? Who’s Johnson? Didn’t he used to play 3rd base for Cincinnati?” campaign. He will end with a whopping 2.5% of the vote as people, panicked by the idea of Clintrump, choose the lesser of two evils.

    A good idea cannot defeat a bad idea when it is outnumbered 40 to 1.

    1. Why, yes, partisan hacks of all stripes are coming out of the woodwork to shill for the major party candidates and smugly lecture independents.

    2. Well, 2.5% of the vote would be a lot more than he got last time, and a lot more than any LP candidate has ever gotten.

    3. I think this is largely right, but this morning, the top story on my phone’s wonky newsfeed has the headline, “Clinton, Trump kick off their race to election finish,” but the video starts with a rally for Johnson (and so that’s also the poster image). It’s possible that anyone with an HTC phone that has ‘news/politics’ in their feed woke up to a picture of Gary Johnson.

    4. A good idea cannot defeat a bad idea when it is outnumbered 40 to 1.

      THIS YEAR WE’RE GOING TO MAKE IT 39-TO-1, WHO’S WITH ME!!!

    5. ^This^

      You are correct Bobby boy.

    6. “I like Gary Johnson but his campaign is over. “

      I’ve never thought politicians were the solution to our problems anyway.

      They’re not even the ultimate source of our problems.

      The ultimate source of our problems is the American people–they have to want something better, they have to want to be free to make choices for themselves. Right now, they don’t want those things–enough.

      Part of the solution to that problem is letting them know that things could be better, that the world would be a better place if each of us had more freedom to make choices for ourselves. And the Gary Johnson campaign (and the LP generally) is a means to that end.

      Libertarianism isn’t about using elections to seize the reigns of power and force libertarianism on the masses by using the coercive power of government. But once we get enough libertarian minded people in this country, the politicians we already have will suddenly start falling all over themselves to become more and more libertarian.

      Johnson has been wildly successful in getting people to consider libertarianism as a practical alternative, which is to say, the Johnson campaign has been wildly successful. The better he does on election day, the more of a practical alternative libertairanism will seem, but even if he doesn’t show in the double digits, it’s mission accomplished.

      1. “The better he does on election day, the more of a practical alternative libertairanism will seem, but even if he doesn’t show in the double digits, it’s mission accomplished.”

        Wish I could agree with you Ken. Unfortunately, I don’t know how much of a legacy GJ and libertarianism in general will have. Ross Perot’s big thing was reducing the deficit, he got nearly 20% of the vote in ’92 and 9% in ’96, but were is he now and where is the deficit? Liberatian ideas won’t really gain traction until the average derp really starts to notice that they don’t have any liberties left and are being crushed by regulations and taxes.

        1. “Ross Perot’s big thing was reducing the deficit, he got nearly 20% of the vote in ’92 and 9% in ’96, but were is he now and where is the deficit?”

          You don’t think Gingrich’s cost cutting in the ’90s had anything to do with Ross Perot’s showing with the voters?

          If the budget isn’t being cut the same way today, it isn’t because we have the wrong politicians in Congress and the White House; it’s because the politicians in Congress and the White House surmise that the voters don’t care about the deficit so much anymore.

          All I’m saying is that the problem and the solution are both in voters’ heads, and to the extent that Johnson ans Weld have been able to present libertarians as something other than cranks, they’ve been wildly successful at that.

          Again, something like action on the deficit is the cart–not the horse.Permanent change comes from changing people’s minds. Jim Crow isn’t unacceptable because it’s illegal; it’s illegal because voters came to find it unacceptable–and their minds have stayed that way.

        2. Yeah, you can’t keep cutting spending any longer than the voters have a mind to want spending cut, so the key is to go after hearts and minds. Rome wasn’t destroyed in a day, and it will take a while to get the American people’s heads where they need to be. I didn’t think we’d see gay marriage or legal recreational marijuana in my lifetime. I didn’t think I’d see the wall come down or soccer moms walking around with tattoos. People’s minds change.

          George Wallace went from “Segregation today, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever” to embracing integration in just a few years. He said he had a heartfelt conversion on the issue, I suspect it came after he saw the poll numbers and realized that public opinion had changed.

          Again, to whatever extent the Johnson campaign has helped people see libertarianism as a valid alternative, he has been successful. But when a libertarian takes the White House, it’ll be running as Democrat or (more probably) a Republican, and when he or she takes power, that libertarian President will only be able to change permanently what the American people want changed permanently.

        3. “Ross Perot’s big thing was reducing the deficit, he got nearly 20% of the vote in ’92 and 9% in ’96, but were is he now and where is the deficit?”
          B. Clinton did run a small budget surplus, so there’s that in favor of 3rd-party candidates having their platform absorbed by the real parties. The fear in D.C. back then was about what would happen if the projected surplus would eventually erase the debt. Even Greenspan was grilled on the risks of that possibility. Oh for the good ol’ days

          1. Technically, we havent had a surplus sinxe 1st Ike term. But the last few Clinton years got close.

          2. Sorry for the pet peeve . . .

            What surplus we had was imposed on Clinton. Gingrich had to shut the government down to get Clinton to sign that budget.

            You don’t get to refuse to sign spending cuts until closing the government down makes you sign–and then claim credit for what you opposed tooth and nail until you had no other choice.

            I’ll give Gingrich the blame for everything he deserves.

            I’ll give him some credit for those spending cuts, too.

            I’ll give Bill Clinton credit for not fucking up NAFTA or GATT.

            But I’m not giving Clinton credit for any spending cuts. He opposed them. Why should Clinton get credit for something he fought and opposed?

        4. You want to know where Perot is, NoVa? He’s in Dallas.

    7. SAME AS YOUR MOTHER AND SISTER

    8. Haha, his campaign is over, right, just when we’re seeing his highest poll numbers of all time. Seriously, 25% in New Mexico is absolutely nuts.

  6. Which states are the most fertile territories for alternative candidates?

    When I think of Jill Stein, the word, “fertile,” immediately springeth forth, it does not.

  7. Rhode Island (!)

    Rhody homies know what time it is. GayJay got PVD on lock

    1. La Cosa Nostra got they dicks out for GayJay?

      1. Now you’ll have a chance to add to your horse-head collection.

      2. He’s a “legitimate option”. Of ours.

    2. I think RI is number 2 or 3 for 420 use, behind Alaska and Vermont, and possibly Colorado now too. This could partly explain GJs high numbers there (pun intended). How many of these stoners actually turn up on election day is another matter.

      1. RI is number 2 or 3 for 420 use,

        PAPA BLESS THE QUEEN OF VAPE NATION

      2. “Well, did you kill him?”

        “Sorry, boss, I was staking out the place like you told me, then I just took a few minutes’ break to get some Doritos, and he must have left when I was away.”

        1. “Then I shall roll you up into a giant joint until you suffocate to death, as an example to my other henchmen.”

  8. So…if Johnson is making inroads into Utah’s presumably conservative population – even after working overtime to alienate conservatives – it seems that libertarian ideas seem to have more appeal to conservatives than progs. Maybe not a high bar to clear, but the Bernie voters in the left-wing states don’t seem to be giving as much support to Gary “73% agreement” Johnson as are the icky conservatives of Utah.

    I’m not saying this in order to argue that a libertarian can insult conservatives and get away with it – I’m arguing that he can insult conservatives and suck up to socialists and *still* fail to pick up the lefty votes that are supposedly out there for the picking.

  9. OH and FL very much in play. Let the pandering begin.

    1. “Hi, I’m Gary Johnson, and I’m like football, Nascar, and Natty Light. Now, let’s listen to a few words from my future Secretary of Commerce, Larry the Cable Guy.”

      1. CAMPAIGN AD: “Hold my beer while I vote for Johnson!”

        1. Although I support him, “Hold my Johnson while I vote for beer,” just has a better ring to it.

      2. Natty Light

        Isn’t that more of a frat beer?

        I mean, I know they’re all rapey white males…but still, NOT OKAY

    2. “I’m Gary Johnson. Hold my beer and watch this.”

      1. Scooped by Eddie! Man, i hate days like today.

        1. Great minds think alike.

          (so do ours)

          1. My thoughts and prayers are with us.

  10. This is significant. Fifteen states where Johnson polls at 15% or above. Granted, these are not big (electoral college vote) states, but Johnson is polling at/above 12% (within striking distance) in an additional seventeen states including some big ones: CA, FL, MI, IL, OH.

    Anyone know when the CPD cutoff date for qualifying for debates is?

  11. The last big election year for 3rd party & independent candidates for high offices was 1992. It wasn’t just Perot, it was all the Libertarians & other “other” candidates who rode on his coattails, which extended to everyone who wasn’t a D or R, because Perot had no national party.

  12. Where is Johnson strong? Only in the minds of Reason’s editors.

  13. Johnson has been running some ads on the radio and TV here in Alaska.They are pretty good actually. Since he won’t be making the debates he should just pour all his remaining time and money into NM, Utah, and Alaska and try and win at least one.

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