Is Gary Johnson the wild card in the Presidential election? “A surprise may be lurking in the presidential campaign that could cause a stir in the coming months, but it has nothing to do with Mitt Romney or Barack Obama,” begins the story in Real Clear Politics on Johnson’s possible impact in picking the next President. That article observes that Johnson’s impact on the race remains unknown, though a recent Arizona poll showed him pulling 9% of the vote in a race against Barack Obama and Mitt Romney.
Capitol Report’s Rob Nikolewski has done a better job following Johnson’s growing impact on the conversation, if not yet the electorate. As he has reported, national polling organizations will be including Johnson in their surveys. Another poll reported by Nikolewski found Johnson pulling 7% of the national vote in a three-way race with Obama and Romney. Johnson has qualified for federal funds, and it is likely he will be on the ballot in every state. Johnson dipped into his personal fortune in his first race for Governor. On a national stage, his resources won’t go as far as they did in New Mexico. But they can keep him alive, especially in selected swing states. The other unknown is whether Ron Paul’s money bomb capabilities will shift to Johnson as the standard-bearer of the libertarian cause.
As the Real Clear Politics article concludes: “At this juncture, neither the Romney campaign nor the Obama campaign has been willing to comment on Johnson and how he might impact the election. But underestimating that impact on what has proved to be a volatile electorate over the past two years could be a mistake.”
Johnson wins, by his standards, if he hits 15% in national polls and qualifies for the debates where he will unroll his libertarian vision before a national audience. He made this clear in conversations in Albuquerque before he launched his Presidential bid.
UPDATE: Momentum? Willie Nelson’s Tea Pot Party Endorses Gary Johnson
AND MORE: Gary Johnson’s upcoming campaign plans in Florida, a key swing state, look professional and ambitious. Ralph Nader played a key role in Florida’s 2000 Presidential vote when he won nearly 97,000 votes. Some say he helped throw Florida’s electoral votes to George W. Bush by drawing away likely Al Gore supporters.
Reuters Joins the Crowd: Could Libertarian Johnson Hurt Romney in the West?