A new Zogby poll suggests that Libertarian Party nominee Gary Johnson could throw the presidential election to President Obama, with the anti-government candidate taking enough votes from Gov. Mitt Romney to give Obama a narrow edge.
In a survey of 798 likely voters conducted August 31 through September 3, Zogby found that if Johnson’s name was not mentioned, Obama and Romney were basically tied, with Obama receiving 43.8 percent of the vote, Romney getting 43.5 percent, and 12.7 percent undecided.
But throw Johnson’s name in and the numbers shift toward Obama is a way that could swing what is expected to be one of the closest elections ever.
Obama now gets 42.7 percent of the vote compared to 41 percent for Romney, with 4.3 percent backing Johnson and 12 percent unsure.
Libertarians are one of the core Republicans groups and among the most likely to stick with their preferred candidate on the basis of principle. Support among Libertarians for Libertarian hero and Republican presidential primary candidate Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) has an almost religious cast to it. Johnson, the former New Mexico governor who ran also unsuccessfully in the GOP primaries, is clearly targeting the Paul vote.
A video that pops up upon accessing Johnson’s campaign website sounds more like a plug for Ron Paul than Gary Johnson.
“His efforts have changed America,” Johnson says of Paul. “Ron Paul is right.”
Johnson suggests it’s okay to use his candidacy as a protest vote, saying, “together we’ll send the unmistakable message Ron Paul’s revolutions isn’t a fluke, it’s the future.”
Johnson could play a role similar to that of Ralph Nader in 2000, when the Green Party candidate may have taken enough votes in Florida from Al Gore to hand George W. Bush the state and the election.