I don’t believe anyone denies that Mitt Romney came across unexpectedly well during the first presidential debate. Also, no one can deny as a result, Mitt Romney has moved up in the polls. Gary Johnson is also moving up.
Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus thinks Libertarian nomineee Johnson is irrelevant; I wouldn’t expect him to say otherwise. While the party dummied-down for their pre-debate expectations, dismissing Johnson could be a dangerous proposition.
Since the swing states — Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia, and Wisconsin — are where the two major party campaigns are concentrating their efforts, that’s where I will keep the focus of this article.
It is important to note that Johnson is starting to be included in polls. Rasmussen, Gallup, and Public Policy Polling have all recognized it’s time to include Johnson.
Colorado – Latest polls show Johnson with 5%. Obama leads Romney by 0.2%. Ron Paul received 12% in the GOP primary.
Florida – Polls in Florida have yet to include Johnson, but the two major party candidates are tied. Paul received 7% in the primary.
Iowa – As in Florida, there are no polling numbers for Johnson. The president leads Romney by 3.2%. Paul captured 21% of the caucus votes.
Nevada — Latest poll has Johnson with 3%. Here too, Obama leads Romney by 4.6%.Paul took 19% of the caucus vote.
New Hampshire – Johnson is pulling 7% in the Granite State. Obama is leading Romney by 6% and Paul won 23% of the primary vote.
North Carolina – Romney leads Obama by 0.8%. Paul took 11% in the GOP primary.
Ohio – In the latest polls, Johnson received 10.6% support. The president has a 3% lead. Since Paul took 9% during the primary, Johnson could already have captured that support. But then again, maybe not.
Virginia – Latest poll has 4% supporting Johnson. The president has a 0.3% lead. The GOP Virginia primary ballot had two candidates, Romney and Paul. Paul took 40%.
Wisconsin – Johnson is winning the support of 6% of the voters. Here, the president is leading by 6.6%. Paul took 11% during the primary.
Nationally, when his name is included, Johnson is polling between 4% to 6%. Paul’s numbers are significant in that even though Romney is gaining support, it is unknown how Paul supporters, probably the most likely to vote for Johnson, will end up casting their ballots. But Johnson is also pulling support from the president. Now that Johnson is being included in some polls, his name is becoming known. If the president continues his poor showing in the debates another unknown develops. Will more Democrats vote for Johnson?
If the swing states are any indication, Johnson’s impact in the remaining 41 states and the District of Columbia could be a factor as well.
Johnson is a factor. He is getting media time; NPR, Politico, Fox Business, the Atlantic, U.S. News, and Huffington Post to name a few. He is maximizing social media.
Priebus may not publically believe Johnson is a threat, but I can’t help but think if privately he is just a little bit worried.