Gary Johnson

A Brutal New Poll for Gary Johnson's Senate Bid Has Him Down to Just 8% (UPDATE: Bad Poll)

Two new surveys this week show the Libertarian fading fast in New Mexico, though his overall polling average remains at 17%.


Gary Johnson, sunset. ||| Matt Welch
Matt Welch

Carroll Strategies released a new poll today in the race for U.S. Senate from New Mexico, and the news is brutal for Libertarian Gary Johnson: just 8.4 percent, compared to 50.7 percent for incumbent Democrat Marin Heinrich and 37.9 percent for Republican Mick Rich. That's lower than the 9.3 percent Johnson received in New Mexico for president in 2016.

(UPDATE: Shockingly, the polling company has admitted that it replaced Johnson's name in questioning with that of his Libertarian predecessor in the race, Aubrey Dunn. So this poll is essentially garbage.)

The poll had more respondents (1,202) and thus a lower margin of error (+/- 2.8 percent) than any survey taken of the New Mexico Senate race this year. It also comes days after another unhappy poll for Johnson—16 percent, compared to 48-32 for the frontrunners, from Emerson College, which is the same pollster that had Johnson in second place two months ago.

The candidates' average in the five independent polls taken since Johnson jumped into the race 10 weeks ago now stands at 46 percent for Heinrich, 27 percent for Rich, and 17 percent for Johnson. FiveThirtyEight currently forecasts the race as 51.1-33.0-15.9, respectively.

Reason on Gary Johnson here.

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  1. I voted for a couple of libertarians the other day, but when there are progressive Marxist pieces of shit on the ballot, I have to vote for the candidate with the best chance of beating them and that’s rarely a libertarian.

    1. When are there not progressive Marxist pieces of shit on the ballot?

      1. Well put

    2. Voting against candidates instead of for candidates is the American way.

      1. It’s called being a useful idiot.

        1. No, cmb, you’ve never been useful.

      2. In this Age destroying the Democrats wont take much longer and then it will be GOP vs Libertarians.

  2. They say people get the government they deserve; perhaps it’s true. As long as idiots keep voting for either Dems or Repubs and justifying it because they “don’t want to waste their vote,” nothing will change.

    It’s not rocket science: keep choosing between voting for either a douchebag or a giant turd, and you will always have either a douchebag or giant turd in office–guaranteed.

    1. Thank you! I’ve been saying this for years!

    2. Democrats are pushing too far left, it is hard to justify voting for libertarians when the choice is a republican or some far left progressive. If they still straddled the center… I would not mind. But that is not where Democrats are nowadays.

  3. What a loser. GayJay couldn’t put Hitlery over the top in 2016 and he’ll fail to put the Dems over in the senate this cycle.

    The communists have there “useful idiots” and, in the case of GayJay, they have a “useless idiot”.

    1. The argument is about whether to get burgers or pizza for lunch, and he’s offering everybody fruit sushi.

    2. What is he spoiling this time, or even coming remotely close to it? He is running for a specific office–US Senate from New Mexico, Class 1–and the Democrat is going to run away with it with or without him if the polls can be remotely believed.

    3. If “Wild” Bill Weld were on the ticket, that would make him even fruitier and sushier.

    4. Johnson is good people. At least better than the other two he’s running against. And he’s so much better when Bill Weld isn’t by his side

      1. Just Say’n have you voted Green for president your whole adult life?

      2. At this point, he’s just tilting at windmills.

        There is no principle at stake here.

        There’s pro-Trump, anti-Trump, and everything else is in Swahili.

        That’s just the nature of this contest. If you want to be relevant in this midterm you need to be so in partisan terms.

        I’m not saying that’s the way it should be. I’m not saying that’s the way it will be in 2020 or 2022.

        I’m saying that’s the way it is now.

        P.S. That’s why there is no establishment Republican apart from Trump anymore. They’re all living on Trump’s coattails whether they like it or not. Trump is even the argument here among libertarians. Look at the headlines from today here at Reason. Even the Nigerian military is somehow all about Trump.

        1. You know you are right. It’s not like it’s not obvious but I don’t think I ever came fully to terms with it in so many, so obvious words. And if I am having trouble with it you can imagine how others are. At their own peril, as you say, if they happen to be in charge of anything.

        2. Funny how the guy who couldn’t win has so much power.

          1. Trump played his strategy and its a winning strategy.

            Trump was betting on a strong economy and a slight tax break did that. He even got black unemployment at the lowest in 60 years. Voters will reward him election 2018.

  4. The first midterm after a new president takes office is typically a referendum on what the new president has done so far. In Trump’s case, that’s probably even more so than usual.

    How do you express your approval or disapproval of Trump by voting for Johnson?

    He should have run as Republican or a Democrat.

    He’d do better in the 2022 midterm as a Libertarian.

    1. How are sixth year midterms different from second year?

      1. They’re three times as important.

      2. They’re not a referendum on the new president. The first midterm is.

        1. Below is the first midterm after a new president takes office going back to 1910.

          First column is House seats won/lost.

          The last column is what I see as the dominant issue(s) of that midterm.

          +9 1934 Franklin D. Roosevelt Great Depression
          +8 2002 George W. Bush 9/11
          -4 1962 John F. Kennedy Cuban Missile Crisis
          -8 1990 George H. W. Bush USSR Falls, Operation Desert Shield
          -9 1926 Calvin Coolidge 1st Midterm in 2nd Term (Death of Harding)
          -12 1970 Richard Nixon Vietnam, Kent State
          -15 1978 Jimmy Carter Energy Crisis, Inflation
          -18 1954 Dwight D Eisenhower McCarthyism
          -22 1918 Woodrow Wilson Broken Promise not to Enter WWI
          -26 1982 Ronald Reagan Recession
          -47 1966 Lyndon B. Johnson Great Society, Civil Rights Act
          -48 1974 Gerald Ford Nixon Pardoned
          -52 1930 Herbert Hoover Smoot?Hawley Tariff, Great Depression
          -54 1946 Harry S Truman Labor Unrest, End of Wartime Price Controls
          -54 1994 Bill Clinton Gun Control, HillaryCare
          -57 1910 William Taft Strife within the Republcian Party (Progressives)
          -63 2010 Barack Obama TARP, ObamaCare
          -77 1922 Warren Harding Strife within the Republican Party (Progressives)

          Median is -24 seats lost. It’s the typical reaction to whatever new presidents do to change things.

          Second midterms aren’t like that.

          1. What an informative chart! I am bookmarking this.

            1. On the one hand, I find it bothersome that the American people seem to react negatively to just about everyone who changes things.

              On the other hand, I find it encouraging that the American people seem to use the separation of powers to curb the power of the executive.

              The separation of powers can’t be a dead issue if the American people are still using it effectively.

              1. Nobody wants separation of powers when their guy is in power.

                1. Cant roll back socialist government policies with democrats in power.

                  1. The statistics say what they say regardless of whether we like them.

          2. That’s House of Representatives seats won/lost. Gary Johnson is running for a Senate seat.

            1. The Senate is a little more funky from a statistical perspective because the whole body isn’t up for election and if some states aren’t up for reelection in the east while others are in the South, that will give you some odd readings.

              I think the same dynamic is still in play. If other first midterms are a referendum on the president, Trump’s first midterm is probably more so. That means people across the country are lining up behind either Republicans or Democrats–because Trump is the issue.

              As you can see in the data, it isn’t the issues that matter so much in other first midterms. Being better or worse on an issue may put you closer to the top or the bottom of the curve, but the median is not zero. The median is negative 24.

              To get to the positive, you have to be the president when people want to unify behind the president–because of 9/11 or something. It’s not because of any particular issue. The point is that running as a Libertarian in the middle of all that is running on issues–at a time when the issues just don’t matter much to people. Nigeria doesn’t really matter to Joe today. Nigeria only matters because it tells us something about Trump.

              If what Johnson is representing isn’t pro-Trump or anti-Trump, it’s not in the conversation. Not when voting for a Democrat is anti-Trump like for reals.

            2. “I think the same dynamic is still in play. If other first midterms are a referendum on the president, Trump’s first midterm is probably more so. That means people across the country are lining up behind either Republicans or Democrats–because Trump is the issue.”

              In other words, this may be talking about a Senate race rather than the House, but we’re still talking about the same voters. Those voters, across the country, are breaking for either Republicans or Democrats. That’s true in New Mexico, too. Those voters want to send a message about Trump, and voting for a Libertarian doesn’t accomplish that–not the way voting for a Republican or a Democrat does.

          3. +numbers due.

          4. So, from 1978-2016, there have been 3 D and 3 R presidents to examine results of their first midterms:

            Carter -15 (1978)
            Clinton -54 (1994)
            Obama -63 (2010)
            Total -132
            Average -44

            Reagan -26 (1982)
            Bush I -8 (1990)
            Bush II +8 (2002)
            Total -26
            Average -8.7

            1. I would argue that the American people aren’t unifying behind Trump as they did behind Bush II after 9/11 and before we invaded Iraq.

              I would also argue that the Amercian people aren’t all crazy thrilled about winning the Cold War like they were in 1990.

              Those “issues” weren’t really issues so much as world events beyond the control of the president. George W. Bush didn’t exactly campaign on letting the Soviet Union collapse without an ICBM being fired. That was the culmination of myriad things that happened all over the world over the course of a decade. The Democrats weren’t running against the Soviet Union collapsing. It wasn’t an “issue” like that.

              Same thing with 9/11. 9/11 happened to Bush II. It wasn’t a campaign issue. The American people would have rallied around any president in 2002–just like every second house and every second car had an American flag flying. The Democrats weren’t pro-Al Qaeda.

              Those are the “outliers” if anything.

              If you expect there to be an outcome like Bush I or Bush II, ask yourself why the present day is like the Soviet Union collapsing or the aftermath of 9/11. This isn’t anything like that at all.

          5. There are good reasons to think this time should be an outlier for the incumbent party.

            In 2016, Trump had taken power from the party establishment and many of them were withholding their support, or outright opposing Trump. And much of the knock on Trump was on how dangerous and inexperienced he was. Both unknown and unknowing.

            Now Trump has a demonstrated track record of peace and prosperity. The concentration camps and ovens never materialized. The party base is solidly behind him, and the old establishment has either got on board or are on the outs with much diminished clout.

            It’s a mistake to treat this as an ordinary midterm. Trump is no ordinary President.

            1. Trump’s fight and roll backs will allow the GOP to gain seats election 2018.

              As you say he is not a typical president.

            2. Reagan’s party lost 26 seats in the midterms of 1982.

              Reagan won 49 of 50 states in the presidential election of 1984.

              I’ve never seen the left more united against President Trump since they were united against Reagan.

              That’s pretty much what we should expect to see. Even when a president has deep and broad support, the American people often want him constrained by the loyal opposition in Congress.

              The Republicans will probably lose control of the House by a slim margin in 2018.

              Trump will probably be reelected with a strong showing in 2020.

              If the economy tanks between now and 2020, of course, things change. Anything can happen between now and then. Still, as things stand, it’s looking like Reagan.

    2. Johnson can not run as a Democrat anymore because he is white and has a penis.

      He’d do better in the 2022 midterm as a Libertarian.

      If the LP is still running Johnson then, they might as well make Lyndon LaRouche and Gus Hall honorary Libertarians.

      1. Pshaw, plenty of whites running as Democrats despite having penises. One is running for governor of Vermont.

        1. Oops- I meant he is white and has a Y chromosome

    3. Ken,

      Your from Maryland right? What’s your take on question 1? Reflectively and with no real information I’m voting no but just curious if I’m missing something (I hear government lockbox and I run to the hills with my money).

      Maryland Question 1: Gambling Revenue Dedicated to Education Lockbox Amendment

      1. I’m originally from Maryland.

        Haven’t been home in a long time. It’ll always be “home” to me.


        Let’s go, Caps!

  5. Whither Johnson?

  6. The Cosmo God That Failed

  7. This Aleppo thing just won’t die.

  8. Regular book clubs too hard for you?

    Then try a cookbook club!

  9. If he ran his senate campaign as well as his presidential campaign, this should surprise nobody.

    1. Worse, actually, given that he didn’t even enter the race until pretty much the deadline.

  10. He’s a victim of the successful battle for more ass sex and legal hash, the soul of the Libbertares only positions for decades.

  11. This is a completely bullshit poll. 2/3 of those polled have already voted, the remainder answered ‘certain to vote’. Not even ‘probably’ was polled. This is a poll that is not intended to ‘measure’ anything. It is intended to kill the third party by polling DeRp activists and eliminating all undecideds and creating a last-minute PR message for those who will vote on Tue that there is no election anymore.

    This is EXACTLY the sort of psychological mass manipulation that Edward Bernays created and called ‘public relations’. Will it work? Probably. But don’t believe for one fucking second that this PR firm is doing anything but manipulating the lizard brains of the people of NM. The DeRps and their dingleberry munchers in the media are pure fucking evil.

    1. This poll is actually a perfect case study to go along with the earlier story about zombies abusing statistics. I saw this sort of shit so many times when I was TA’ing stats. Simply a stunning absence of ethics where people will lie to your face using numbers and won’t blink at all. And the sad thing is – it almost always works too.

  12. Johnson is a moron… I can’t believe that you ran the two dimwit frat-boys on your ticket.. Seriously? Slapping each other’s butts and pushing each other’s shoulders while cluelessly trying to answer questions about foreign policy? ‘What’s an Aleppo?’ WTF? … He doesn’t deserve 8%. At least Harry Browne didn’t come across as a teen skateboarder. Very lame!

    1. ‘What’s an Aleppo?’ WTF?

      You were clearly paying very close attention last election, and totally weren’t just swallowing mass media talking points. I would like to subscribe to your newsletter.

  13. Most of the polls are slanted toward Democrats this election cycle, so they can be mostly ignored.

    Polls and Lefties have Stacey Abrams winning as Georgia governor and that aint gonna happen. They also have been pumping millions into the area.

    Pay attention to the desperate acts of the Democrats and that tells you all you need to know. If Democrats barely campaign and they have an incumbent, they will likely win.

    If Democrats are spending money like crazy and acting like they will win, they will lose.

  14. There is a lesson being repeated here – for the 10,000th time!

  15. Well, I threw the lever for him. OK, it was actually a scantron form I filled in with a sharpie, but that just doesn’t sound as cool.

    1. “throwing the lever” is a euphemism for something else entirely.

  16. Which is rational signaling, and happens every election.

    As you see the guy you prefer is less and less likely to win, you shift your support to your next preference of the guys more likely to win.

    1. ^this.

      Its Lefty propaganda 101 to steer elections with polls and news.

      1. When I say “news” I meant lies.

    2. “As you see the guy you prefer is less and less likely to win”

      Fortunately I stuck with my choice during 2016 and have been able to sleep well at night knowing I didn’t go for the Giant Douche or the Turd Sandwich!

    3. Because the world needs more hypocrites. You idiot.

  17. Don’t trust any of these polls.

    1. There has not been a single live telephone poll taken in this entire race released to the public.

    2. The Emerson Poll this week didn’t include anybody who had a cell phone. Think about that.

    3. The Carroll Strategies poll asked respondents about Aubrey Dunn. Yes, Aubrey Dunn, not Gary Johnson. Apparently, they didn’t know Aubrey wasn’t running. When they realized their mistake, they simply took Aubrey’s results and ascribed them to Gary. I know because a fellow libertarian who took this poll reported it before the poll was even released.

    4. Gary has been winning the battle of Google searches for months. Google Trends has accurately predicted races in the past, and there’s no reason to think all of a sudden its predictive ability has just stopped working.

    I will say this, however: if Gary comes in third to a Republican with no name ID, no money, no resume, who looked completely lost in the debates, but beats Gary because he had an R next to him, then we should just stop running candidates because we can’t win.

    1. Correction: the Emerson Poll contacted landlines only. Maybe they had a cell phone, too.

    2. The Carroll Strategies poll also had 2/3 of its sample being people who had already voted – with Aubrey Dunn obviously not being on the ballot. It was entirely a garbage poll intended to CREATE a public perception (and thus a self-fulfilling prophecy this close to election day) that the election is only a two-person race.

      Your last point has some truth to it though. The L’s have probably got to stop focusing on candidates and election day so much. Instead build a voluntary association (political party) that offers something of value for L’s (big and small-l) for the 700 days between elections – run liberty markets or social/job/volunteer networking or public debates on local issues in conjunction with other groups. Something that l’s will see as valuable enough to be members (esp in those states where the ballot access and legal fights aren’t as much of an issue) – and activities that will undermine the DeRp/media memes about ‘what is a libertarian’.

    3. And as for polls. L’s have GOT to stop relying on someone else doing that for them. Political polls are not intended to be honest – or to create fair or competitive elections.

      Those run by media are intended to support minimal ‘horse-race’ reporting and to provide a basis for developing the ad campaigns that are the only revenues the media gets out of elections.

      Those run by candidates/parties/consultants are intended to create public perceptions that create bandwagon effects (or the opposite – can’t find an antonym) and help structure consultant messaging and ads

      Those run by schools are intended to train students in how to conduct that sort of research – where all the possible future jobs are with EXISTING mass marketing/political consultants/etc. Maybe there’s an opportunity here for L’s to work with schools that do that stuff – but L’s will have to initiate that cuz the schools are going to initially resist on the basis of ‘if we include L’s we’ll have to include everyone and that is just confusing and well disorganized and uncertain’. IOW – L’s actually have to sell Hayekian decentralization and spontaneous order – even to get honest polls

  18. No “pure Libertarian” candidate is ever going to win any election. Only the Republican Party can allow a libertarian wo win. This is just hard, rough reality.

    1. Truth. We must have some introspection after this election, and understand that we are probably never going to be more than the margin of difference. But there’s a lot of value and leverage in being the margin of difference, especially since most of our support is coming from the Republicans. We can leverage our 3-5% to make the Republicans embrace free trade, immigration reform, and fiscal restraint, or they can wander in the political wilderness forever.

  19. *allow a libertarian to…

  20. Since immigration has turned New Mexico into Old Mexico, and made it a blue state… I will say again:

    In blue states where the GOP has zero chance of winning, they should just not put up a candidate. A Libertarian has a shot in an area that consistently, but only slightly, tilts left. Baby aborting and legal dope is enough to sway some people who are fiscally sane that direction, but who could never vote R.

    I actually had a few races like this on my ballot, but Seattle is too left for it to work… But it’s a viable strategy. Rs get to save their war chest for winnable elections elsewhere, and will get somebody who is at least on their side on some issues if the L wins.

    1. Exactly. If Johnson had run as the R candidate in New Mexico and Rich had run as the L candidate, Gary would be at 40% in the polls and Rich would be in the low single digits.

  21. If you can’t even put a Libertarian in the State Assy/Senate, how can you even think you’ll put one in the US Senate?
    Whenever I reread Cromwell’s admonition to the Rump Parliament, I think he was talking to the Libertarian Party.

  22. This is the poll where they did not use Gary Johnson’s name. Carroll Strategies admitted to the mistake, saying it accidentally replaced Johnson’s name with someone else’s.

  23. You guys need to correct this article! The pollsters who did this made a major mistake

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