Libertarians are the perennial “also rans” of American presidential politics. When Gary Johnson ran on the Libertarian ticket in 2012, he received less than one percent of the popular vote. That was then. This is now: Johnson is now polling between 9 and 12%. If he can pump that up to 15%, he’ll get a podium at the televised presidential debates.


Johnson is running stronger in some places than others, and is stronger among some constituencies. One of those strong constituencies, surprisingly, is economists, according to The Hill. Apparently, the old joke doesn’t always stand: “If you put all the economists in the world, end to end, they still couldn’t reach a conclusion.”

First, the numbers. In a new poll from the National Association of Business Economics (NABE), asking which presidential candidate would do the best job managing the American economy. . .15 percent chose Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson and 14 percent chose Republican nominee Donald Trump.

The results are interesting for several reasons. The National Association of Business Economics has a strongly pro-business viewpoint. It is not a bastion of liberal or populist economists. It. . .is a shocker that libertarian Gary Johnson would be seen by more of these economists as a better manager of the national economy than Trump.

Why does Johnson outperform Trump among these economists?

Most importantly on the positive side, Johnson represents a clear and coherent economic and political philosophy that conservative and libertarian economists can understand and support if they choose. On the negative side, Trump has no coherent organizing economic philosophy, spent decades acting like and supporting traditional liberal Democrats, has repeatedly shifted his positions on major issues and has little more trust from economists than he has earned among the general electorate.

It is a huge victory for Johnson to emerge in this poll of economists as the main challenger to Clinton on economic policy. . . The truth about Trump is that he is a crony capitalist, who now states that he supported the Clintons and other liberals with donations for so long because he wanted to obtain influence with them while they were in power. He has led several businesses to bankruptcy. He has called himself the “king of debt,” a description that Johnson or Paul and other leading libertarians would never use to describe themselves. . .

Economists live in a world of economic data, facts and opinions informed by their experiences. It is a stunner that in a major poll of business economists, Johnson, not Trump, would emerge as the leading alternative to Clinton.

Whether we agree with him or not, let’s give credit to where it is due to Gary Johnson. It is a considerable achievement that he performs better than Trump in this poll of economists — which is one more reason he deserves to participate in the presidential debates this fall.

How many economists are there? Probably not enough to make a difference in an election, but they may influence others. Trump would say they’re just the establishment—they’re the ones who caused the problems we face.

However, Johnson is also doing quite well among young people—who are hardly “establishment.” This is also from The Hill.

Libertarian presidential nominee Gary Johnson is beating Donald Trump among millennial voters in Colorado, a new poll finds.

The latest Quinnipiac University Poll shows Johnson with an 11-point advantage over Trump among voters between 18 and 34 years of age, station Fox 31 Denver reports.

“Gary Johnson’s campaign is the only one gaining steam the other two are dying day-by-day,” said Johnson’s Colorado campaign spokesman, Steve Kerbel. “Governor Johnson likes to say most people are libertarian, they just don’t know it yet.”

Even more surprisingly, Johnson is beating both Clinton and Trump among active military personnel. The military is usually firmly in the Republican column.

Military troops favor Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson for president over Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, according to a new survey.

Johnson garnered 38.7 percent of the active duty vote, versus 30.9 for Trump, and 14.1 for Clinton, according to the survey, which was conducted via the popular military personality Doctrine Man. . .

Among all services except for the Navy, Johnson performed better than Trump and Clinton.

Current, reserve and former members of the Army preferred Johnson at 35.4 percent. Trump, the Republican nominee, came in second at 31.4 percent, and Clinton, the likely Democratic nominee, at 15.3 percent.

Among the Marine community, an overwhelming 44.1 percent chose Johnson, while 27.1 percent chose Trump, and 12.7 percent chose Clinton.

The majority of the Air Force respondents chose Johnson at 39 percent, but Trump next at 29.9 percent and Clinton at 12.9 percent.

Trump ranked the top choice for the Navy community, at 32.4 percent, versus 31.7 percent for Johnson and 22.9 percent for Clinton.

HotAir tells us that Johnson is not doing badly among African-Americans.

A newly released poll. . .covered nine battleground states and has some encouraging and/or just interesting results for Libertarian Gary Johnson. The survey was of 2700 likely voters and conducted from June 11-20.

Across those nine states (Arizona, Florida, Michigan, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin) some big picture stuff. . .

Johnson beats Trump among African-Americans, 7 percent to 5

Johnson beats his overall 11 percent average slightly with Hispanics, with 12 percent

Johnson neck-and-neck with Trump with millennials, 22 percent to Trump’s 24. Johnson’s Gen X support also beats his overall average, at 13 percent. With Boomers, though, he’s only pulling 5 percent.

Five percent of identified Democrats say they’ll vote Johnson; 11 percent of identified Republicans say the same.

And, finally, Reason says that Johnson is doing surprisingly well in the “rustbelt” states—heading toward the 15% average he’ll need to get into the debates.

Some state-specific results show Johnson beating his nine-state 11 percent average in Ohio (14), Pennsylvania (13), Wisconsin (16), and Michigan (12). Johnson’s worst state among the nine is North Carolina, where he’s pulling only 8 percent.

Among the five Rustbelt States, Johnson is outperforming Trump with minorities (12-11) and millennials (28-21).

Although Johnson is beating Trump with certain constituencies, a better look at the polls shows that when third-party candidates are added, Hillary’s numbers fall. That’s because a significant number of Hillary votes are “NeverTrump” people. If they have a third option, they’ll take it.

Also, having Johnson on the debate stage will probably also help Trump. The Donald is a master at playing one person against another. He had a field day when there were more than a dozen Republicans on the primary debate stage. That’s why Trump refused to debate Ted Cruz, and later, Bernie Sanders one-on-one. If there’s only one other person on the stage, there’s nowhere to run, nowhere to hide, and no way to deflect an issue toward a third person.

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Goethe Behr is a Contributing Editor and Moderator at Election Central. He started out posting during the 2008 election, became more active during 2012, and very active in 2016. He has been a political junkie since the 1950s and enjoys adding a historical perspective.

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