Former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson could pull as much as 6% of the vote in a hypothetical three-way match-up with Mitt Romney and President Obama. Johnson began the 2012 race running for the Republican nomination but has wound up carrying the libertarian banner and could gain ballot access in several states.
Report from Examiner.com:
According to a new poll out yesterday by Public Policy Polling, if the election for the President of the United States was held this past week, Libertarian Party Candidate Gary Johnson would receive 6% of the Republican vote, with 75% of the nation not knowing who Johnson is. This is far better than the 2% he was receiving when running as a Republican last year. Johnson changed from the GOP to the Libertarian Party late last December as his campaign lacked traction under the banner.
The same poll asked participants to answer if the elections were held today and the contest was between Barack Obama and Ron Paul, Obama received 47% of the vote with Paul receiving 42% of the vote and 10% undecided.
Largely a failure by the national media, keeping Johnson out of the light, most Americans have never heard of Gary Johnson even though he was a popular a two-term Governor of New Mexico. Romney and Obama receive constant coverage on local and national news and coverage of Johnson is rare which would explain why Johnson is not well-known amongst the population.
The libertarian wave is catching new height this year, especially on the Republican side. I still have doubts as to whether Johnson could carry this to November since I imagine many of his supporters would likely be voting against Obama and wouldn’t want to be perceived as helping Romney lose. You can bet that the Romney campaign will take this seriously since a few percentage points could be enough to swing a tight race.