Even though Libertarians make up a small minority of Republicans, it looks as if the GOP may not be able to win elections without them. Polls indicate that Libertarian Party Candidate Gary Johnston might be taking enough votes from Donald Trump to cost him the White House.
The Economist/YouGov Poll taken between July 30 and August 1, 2016, showed Trump losing to Democrat Hillary Clinton by around 5 points; 41 to 36 to be exact. The same poll indicated that Johnson was polling at 8%. Add Johnson’s 8% to Donald’s 36% and Trump wins with 44% of the vote.
The NBC News/Survey Monkey Poll taken between August 1 and August 7, 2016, gave Clinton 44% of the vote, Trump 38% and Johnson 10%. Using that data Trump would win a comfortable victory of 48% to Clinton’s 44% if Johnson were taken out of the equation.
Real Clear Politics’ Average of all the polls from August 9, delivers a similar result. It put Clinton at 43.8%, Trump at 36.4% and Johnson at 8.6%. If Real Clear’s estimates are right Trump would beat Hillary with 45% to 43.8%, a narrow margin but enough to reach the White House.
Polls Show Johnson could Decide the Election
The data shows that Trump’s big government policies are driving away a significant percentage of Republican voters. The situation is beginning to look like 2000; when consumer gadfly turned Green Party candidate Ralph Nader took enough votes away from Al Gore to cost him the White House.
One has to wonder if Johnson will become as unpopular among conservatives as Nader became on the left after 2000. By 2004, many leftist intellectuals blamed Nader for George W. Bush and the Iraq War. There are obviously some other factors that drive voters away from Trump; including racism, stupidity and sleaze, but it’s obvious that Donald is losing a sizable segment of conservative voters.
My guess is that there will be a large push by Republicans to appeal to Libertarians. It may have already begun with Donald’s new found commitment to lower taxes unveiled in his August 8, 2016, economic policy speech.
Trump Looses Big Time with Younger Americans
Johnson’s influence is being magnified by younger voters a new McClatchy poll unearthed by Reason’s Scott Shackford indicates. Among voters under 29, the Libertarian actually comes in second with 23% of the voters, Trump received just nine percent.
Trump actually received fewer votes of those under 29 than Jill Stein; of the Green Party, who received 16% of the support. Hillary Clinton won easily among that demographic receiving 41% of the vote.
That’s right less than 10% pf Americans under 29 said they would vote for Donald Trump. Whether this means younger voters distrust government or simply do not like the man is unknown.
What is certain is that is a big enough difference to affect the outcome of a national election. It looks as if Republicans are going to have to dump Trump if they want to capture the White House.
Some other numbers indicate that Johnson is reaching a national audience. CNN’s Libertarian Presidential Town Hall broadcast on August 3, 2016, attracted 1.6 million voters, Reason’s Eric Boehm noted. The event; which featured Johnson and his running mate William Weld, saw a 74% in viewership in the 25 to 54 age demographic craved by TV programmers.
It also drew more viewers than CNN’s usual programming which features newsman Anderson Cooper. On August 2, Cooper’s normal show received just 1.3 million viewers in the same time period.
Google search interest in Gary Johnson is also double what it was in 2012; when he last ran for president on the Libertarian ticket, Shackford noted.
This means that Johnson is making some serious waves; that might upset Donald Trump’s boat, even though the national media is ignoring him. It looks as if Republicans have a lot of work to do just to maintain the support of some of their most dedicated supporters.