Gary Johnson Continues Slide in Polls

Libertarian candidate's numbers started plunging after he didn't make debates
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 26, 2016 1:15 PM CDT
Gary Johnson Continues Slide in Polls
Gary Johnson chats with members of the audience before taping an interview at the University of Virginia's Miller Center in Charlottesville, Va., on Oct. 17, 2016.   (Ryan M. Kelly/The Daily Progress via AP)

(Newser) – Gary Johnson has been making a valiant go of it, but the Libertarian Party's candidate for president is starting to see his numbers slip away at the polls—or, as the Boston Globe puts it, "Gary Johnson is no longer a thing." Politico reports that about half of his supporters have abandoned ship over the last two months, from an almost 10% polling average in September to about 5.6% more recently. And that means that although Johnson could still raise some dust and complicate matters for the two major-party candidates in states where third parties have historically done well, it doesn't look definite he's going to have a significant impact on the race, as Ralph Nader did in two states in 2000 (and Nader's poll numbers were less than half that of Johnson's in late August of their respective election years, per FiveThirtyEight).

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Johnson's numbers began to drop after he didn't qualify for the first presidential debate in September. His standing has also been affected by the fact that polls are now looking more closely at likely voters, not just registered ones: A CNN/ORC poll from this weekend, for example, gave Johnson a 5% among registered voters, but only 3% for those likely to show on Election Day (down from 7% three weeks earlier). And the Globe notes Johnson's flubbed foreign policy remarks likely haven't helped, either. But Intelligencer says this "crash" is "right on schedule," as third-party candidates in years with close races tend to start seeing declining numbers as the election nears. If Johnson can hold on to 5%, he could earn federal funding for the Libertarian Party in 2020. (Read more Gary Johnson stories.)

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