Back in 1992, Ross Perot ran for President of the United States as an Independent candidate and received an astounding 18.9% of the popular vote. Even though he did not win any individual state in particular, he did in fact hold the highest vote count of any candidate in a few counties across the country like Trinity County, California.
Having spent an estimated $12.3 million of his own money on his presidential campaign, Perot received the highest vote total by any 3rd party candidate in recent memory in the U.S. -- since back in the days of Theodore Roosevelt. Now in 2012, granted he is not a billionaire who is spending millions of dollars on his own campaign, former Gov. Gary Johnson (R-NM) has a chance to be the "second coming of Ross Perot" by stealing some crucial votes away from Mitt Romney.
Yes, currently, Gov. Johnson is only polling anywhere between 5% and 9% nationally -- depending on which poll you look at. But that 5-9% is going to primarily take away from would-have-been Romney supporters. You can almost guarantee that all of the Ron Paul supporters are hopefully going to sense that Gov. Johnson is the next best option for them once he it becomes clear that Romney is going to be the party's likely nominee.
In key mountain states like Colorado and Arizona, Gov. Johnson is currently being shown to be polling at 7% and 9% respectively (Public Policy Polling data). If he carries that momentum across to other states in that region, there is no telling what kind of effect that could hold on the over-arching battle that is currently going on only between the two major parties.
Personally, I consider myself a political moderate but I think that it is healthy to have a little competition in politics. So, I give Gov. Johnson all the credit in the world for putting up the fight that he has been doing over the last several months; and I hope that the media outlets will see the clear evidence in the poll numbers and include the former two-term governor in the presidential debates as election day draws near. Gov. Johnson's presence in the election will have a substantial impact on Romney's vote totals nationally.