According to a new NBC News/Survey Monkey poll, Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson is leading among independent voters. According to the poll, in a 4-way race between Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, Johnson, and Jill Stein, 31 percent of independent voters said they support Johnson, followed by Clinton and Trump (both at 24 percent), and Stein at 12 percent.
With unapproval ratings as high as 60 percent for the major party nominees, Johnson has polled higher than any third party presidential candidate since Ross Perot in 1992. Then, Perot was able to get into a presidential debate with Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush polling at 9 percent.
However, Johnson, who is polling between 11 and 13 percent nationally, will not be in the first debate as a result of the Commission on Presidential Debates’ 15% rule, which was adopted in 2000. The rule requires candidates outside the major parties to poll at an average of 15 percent in 5 national polls selected by the CPD.
The NBC/Survey Monkey poll found Johnson at 11 percent overall. Of note, respondents were first asked to weigh in on a two-person race between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump before being given additional options.
Overall, 34 percent of respondents sampled said they were independent of the Republican and Democratic parties in a poll of 16,220 adults who said they were registered voters. The survey was conducted online between September 5 and September 11, 2016.