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Poll: 19% Support for Libertarian Gary Johnson

by Damon Eris, published


Libertarian Party presidential candidate Gary Johnson received 19% support in poll published late last week. The survey, commissioned by the Libertarian Action Super PAC, was geared specifically to confront the candidate selection criteria of the Commission on Presidential Debates, which are rigged to favor of the candidates put forward by the Republican and Democratic parties.

The nationwide survey of registered voters asked just one simple question: “Suppose the presidential election were held today. If Barack Obama were the Democratic Party’s candidate and Gary Johnson were the Libertarian Party’s candidate, who would you vote for, Barack Obama, the Democrat or Gary Johnson, the Libertarian?”

President Barack Obama received 56% support in the poll, while 19% said they would vote for Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson, and 25% stated that they were undecided or did not prefer either choice.

Perhaps you might object here that the poll is fatally flawed and is therefore not an accurate gauge of public opinion because it did not include any mention of Republican party candidate Mitt Romney. That is an excellent point. Indeed, one of the main purposes of the survey was to draw attention to systemic political bias in favor of Republican-Democrat two-party state in our nation's polling organizations. The typical presidential polling question reads exactly like the one quoted above, except it includes the name of Republican party candidate Mitt Romney and excludes all others.

Why is this significant? The corporate entity that controls the presidential debate process is the Commission on Presidential Debates. Judging from its name, one might assume that the CPD was specially created by legislative or executive act to officially administer the presidential debates. Yet nothing could be further from the truth. The CPD is nothing more than a Democratic and Republican party front organization. Until 1988, the League of Women Voters, an independent organization, hosted our nation's presidential debates. In the previous year, the Republican and Democratic parties formed the CPD to obtain more control over the debate process. From then on, the League of Women Voters has refused to participate in the organization of presidential debates, famously stating that the CPD, under the control of the major party machines, would “perpetrate a fraud on the American people.”

In order to be included in a presidential debate, the Commission on Presidential Debates requires that a given candidate must be constitutionally eligible for the office, must have ballot access in enough states to win the electoral college, and must demonstrate at least 15% support of the national electorate “as determined by five selected national public opinion polling organizations.”

Presidential candidates such as Libertarian Gary Johnson and Green Party candidate Jill Stein easily meet the first two requirements, but often find difficulty demonstrating 15% support in nationwide polls. The reason for this is rather simple: they are almost never included in any national polls. Indeed, in the current election cycle, there appears to be just one poll that has included Johnson and Stein by name.

So the CPD requires that a third party or independent candidate for president demonstrate support in the polls in order to be included in the debates. Yet, such individuals are rarely if ever included in any polls, let alone five of them.

The Libertarian Action Super PAC plans to conduct similar polls to the one mentioned above and aims to push the CPD into a corner. They write:

If we ask the question the same way (just like Gallup), Gary Johnson has a very good chance of getting more than 15%. Let’s show that to the Commission on Presidential Debates! They can’t have it both ways — they can’t include biased polls that only name Obama and Romney, and then ignore polls like ours. We’d love to push the CPD into a corner. If they have to accept polls like this, then Gary Johnson has a great chance of getting into the debates. At worst, they’ll have to start demanding that all their polling organizations include Gary Johnson — and that would be a good thing too.