In six weeks, President Obama and most likely Mitt Romney will be the Democratic and Republican presidential nominees for president -- respectively. Whether Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson can poll 15%, in order to participate in the presidential debates and potentially become a wild card or spoiler, will depend on the millions of Ron Paul supporters -- if they decide to throw their support behind Johnson.
Ron Paul supporters have the media’s attention. For Gary Johnson to get the required 15% in the polls, his name needs to be given as another choice when polling for the voters' preference for president. “If the election were held today, would you vote for Barack Obama or Mitt Romney?” will result in voters choosing one or the other -- or “undecided/other."
That is why the The polling question should be “If the election were held today, would you vote for Barack Obama, Mitt Romney, or Gary Johnson?” In polls where Johnson is given as a choice, he is currently pulling from 7% to 13%. If the millions of Ron Paul supporters assisted the Johnson campaign in pressuring polling organizations and the media to list Gary Johnson as a choice -- given the power of Ron Paul supporters -- I believe the pollsters would listen.
If we assume Ron Paul supporters take the advice of Aaron Biterman of Humblelibertarian.com and PolicyMic Pundit Christopher McDaniel and support Gary Johnson due to his similar positions on the issues; could Gary Johnson be a wild card that could win the presidency (or, at least, be a spoiler for either the president or Mitt Romney)?
Since 1972, only one Libertarian Party candidate for president received over 1% of the vote. None has received electoral votes. In 2008, Bob Barr received only four-tenths of 1%. Gary Johnson is already pulling more support. In 1992, Ross Perot received just fewer than 19% of the vote but no electoral votes. Neither Bob Barr’s or Ross Perot’s totals impacted the election. In 2000, Ralph Nader received 2.7% of the vote, but his totals in Florida made him a spoiler for Al Gore, giving the presidency to George Bush.
Will Gary Johnson be a wild card or spoiler? There is evidence he can appeal to Independents as well as Democrats and Republicans. His record as a two-term Governor of New Mexico highlights this appeal. An important piece of this also is his acceptance by the Latino community, which is over 46% of New Mexico’s population.
None of this is relevant unless Gary Johnson becomes part of the national debate, appearing side by side with President Obama and Mitt Romney in front of the American people. If this happens, Tuesday, November 6, 2012 could be very interesting and the headlines the morning of November 7th will tell if Gary Johnson, indeed, was a wild card or a spoiler.