Support for Libertarian Gary Johnson continues to grow, according to the newest poll by NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist. The poll shows double-digit strength in both Virginia and Colorado.
While Johnson has had an average national showing of 10 percent for several months (polling as high as 13 percent in one poll), the nature of a federal republic makes each state’s results all that really matters. A double-digit showing in two hotly contested battleground states represents a huge impact on the overall race.
In light of these continued double-digit polling results, two thoughts remain.
First, why are so many national polls not even including Johnson or Stein as options?
It still appears like the mainstream media is purposefully ignoring the minor party candidates, even with this being the best showing from ‘outsiders’ since H. Ross Perot’s two failed presidential campaigns in the 1990s.
A review of polls shows that ‘other’ and/or ‘undecided’ still remain the two most common options other than the major party nominees.
Second, we’d better start looking at the historical data.
From George Wallace’s failed 1968 attempt to Perot’s attempts in the 1990s, once a candidate begins to poll this high at this stage of the campaign, their interest either holds or grows.
With the ‘never-Trump’ movement officially killed by the rules committee requiring delegates to be bound to their pledges, dissatisfied Republicans are going to be looking for other options.
Clinton’s continued scandals and inability to lock in Sanders’ supporters only fuels this surge for the minor party candidates.
The question remains whether either minor party candidate will break the all-important 15 percent threshold to be included in the debates with the major candidates, who are not encumbered by any requirements other than their party’s nod.
Without breaking this threshold or a significant change in the presidential debate rules (which is unlikely), neither minor party candidate will get the critical platform of having their ideas presented and debated against what Clinton and Trump have to offer.
One thing is now almost certain, this year’s winner with join the other 16 presidents who won by less-than-majority pluralities.
Or it could get even wilder in 2016 with no candidate collecting 50 percent of the electoral votes, creating only the third instance (1800 & 1824) where the House of Representatives selects the president and the second instance (1836) of the Senate choosing our vice president.