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Gary Johnson at 6% in national poll, campaign files lawsuit for not getting in the Presidential debates

By   /   September 22, 2012  /   No Comments

A national poll released Friday (Sept. 21) showed Gary Johnson receiving 6 percent support when his name is included with Barack Obama and Mitt Romney while at the same time, the Johnson campaign filed a lawsuit against the Commission on Presidential Debates for excluding the Libertarian Party presidential candidate from joining Obama and Romney in the upcoming debates that begin in October.

We’ll start with the poll, which was conducted by Reason/Rupe of 1,006 adults, including 787 likely voters who say they “definitely” will vote in the next election.

Gary Johnson accepts Libertarian Party nomination, Las Vegas, 5/5/12

When asked if they would vote for the Obama-Biden, Romney-Ryan or Johnson-Jim Gray tickets, the results from likely voters were:

Obama/Biden 49%

Romney/Ryan 40%

Johnson/Gray 6%

Vote for Someone Else 1%

Would Not Vote less than 1%

Don’t Know/Refused 4%


Johnson’s name will be on the ballot in at least 47 states in November.

The poll also limited the choices to just Obama or Romney and when that question was asked, the results from likely voters were:

Obama/Biden 48%

Romney/Ryan 43%

Vote for Someone Else 2%

Would Not Vote 1%

Don’t Know/Refused 6%

Judging from those numbers, it seems a Johnson candidacy may hurt Romney (whose numbers dropped by 3 percent) more than Obama (whose numbers grow by 1 percent) although the margin of error in the poll is plus or minus 4.3 percent.

Earlier this month, the former two-term governor of New Mexico scored at 4 percent in a CNN/ORC national poll and at 4.3 percent in a JZ Analytics national poll.

As for the presidential debates, the commission announced on Friday (Sept. 21) that Obama and Romney are the only candidates allowed on the stage for the three debates, starting on Oct. 3 in Denver.

Johnson was excluded because the commission requires that candidates must score at least 15 percent approval in surveys from five selected national public opinion polling organizations.

Anticipating the ruling, the Johnson campaign later on Friday announced its lawsuit on anti-trust grounds in US District Court for the Central District of California.

“Someone has to stand up and call this what it is: A rigged system designed entirely to protect and perpetuate the two-party duopoly,” senior Johnson advisor Ron Nielson said in a statement. “That someone will be the Johnson campaign. We are today filing a lawsuit in Federal Court charging that the National Commission and the Republican and Democratic Parties, by colluding to exclude duly qualified candidates outside the Republican and Democratic Parties, are in violation of the nation’s anti-trust laws.”

The legal basis for the suit claims that the commission’s decision violates the Sherman Anti-Trust Act of 1890 by “indefensibly limit[ing] access of other candidates to the marketplace of ideas and the opportunity to be employed in these highest offices in the land.”

Johnson’s running mate, Jim Gray, is a retired Superior Court judge from California and a plaintiff in the suit. He’ll argue the motion on the campaign’s behalf. No date has been set yet for a hearing.

The last time a third-party presidential candidate made it to the stage with the Democratic Party and Republican Party nominees was Ross Perot back in 1992.

Some background on the Commission on Presidential Debates:

It was formed in 1987 and its rules on the presidenital debates and how candidates are selected have been used in every presidential election since 1988. Its leadership is headed by Frank Fahrenkopf, a former head of the Republican National Committee, and former Massachusetts senator Paul Kirk, a former head of the Democratic National Committee.

Back in 2000, Ralph Nader filed a lawsuit against the debates commission, arguing that corporate contributions violated the Federal Election Campaign Act. A circuit court in Washington DC decided in 2005 that it would not overrule the Federal Election Commission’s ruling that Nader and other third-party candiates had failed to prove that the debates were controlled by the Democratic National Committee or the Republican National Committee.

Unlike Johnson’s lawsuit, Nader’s legal action did not base its argument on a potential anti-trust violation.


Click here to look at the Reason/Rupe poll results. The telephone survey was made up of 404 respondents on mobile phones and 602 on landlines (including 208 without landlines).

Also, Gray — Johnson’s running mate — is a bit of a pistol. Check out this soundbite we got from him at the Libertarian Party convention in May when I asked him about whether voting for Johnson is throwing away your vote:


Rob formerly served as staff reporter for Watchdog.org.

  • Dave

    Steadily rising in the polls with a media blackout. Shows you how powerful the message of liberty is!

    If they actually started mentioning him he’d be winning by a landslide!

  • http://mappaquerque.com Dan

    The point of view Gary Johnson brings to the conversation is critical to the preservation of the republic. We’ve seen civil liberties slowly disintegrate before our very eyes under Bush and even more so now under Obama. You can now get the “See Something Say Something” app for your phone. Is this the kind of country we want and want for our children? Gary will interject a point of view grounded in freedom, liberty, constitutionally limited government a sane foreign policy and a balanced budget; a point of view which s antithetical to the two establishment candidates who are in many ways just opposite sides of the same coin. I support Gary 100% and would encourage anyone who wants to see Gary participate in the debates to get his Android app at http://goo.gl/Psc5o, donate to the campaign and share, share share. Regardless of who might eventually win there is nothing but good that can come from having Gary participate in what otherwise would be a glorified joint press conference.

  • MartR

    [The legal basis for the suit claims that the commission’s decision violates the Sherman Anti-Trust Act of 1890 by “indefensibly limit[ing] access of other candidates to the marketplace of ideas and the opportunity to be employed in these highest offices in the land.”]


    Just let the man debate. Let the public hear the discussion and let PEOPLE make up their OWN MINDS.

    It is very telling for the commission to manage the debate in this way. It comes across as quite a defensive posture.

    Live Free

  • John Balzer

    Polls are fine but they are currently quite all over the place. Gary Johnson is gaining attention point by point. The media is starting to recognize that ignoring him would be bad for them because he is making too much noise to ignore. When people get to know who Gary Johnson is, they like him. Keep watching! This is a magic time.

  • Donavan Spencer

    Don’t just watch, get involved, donate, blog, campaign, get yourself a yard sign, a bumper sticker.

  • George Whitfield

    Gary Johnson and Jim Gray are breaths of fresh air in this stifling Presidential election campaign. They are a clear choice to restore America to peace, prosperity and liberty. If freedom is worth fighting for isn’t it worth voting for? Live free. Vote for Libertarians Gary Johnson and Jim Gray.

  • Ray Black

    Most people don’t even know who he is or that he is even running.

    Let him in the debates and he could WIN !

  • Mary Saunders

    The media need GJ. Why would anyone watch Sachs v. Sachs. It would be a cross between a snore and an emetic.

  • smash

    Who are we kidding it goes much deeper than those two parties… should also sue the zionist controlled media they are the ones pulling the strings and have been since the 1960’s

  • RRB

    Why aren’t there any presidential polls on the intranet for the the average voter to take . So we can show how much support is really out there for the libertarian candidate. Im sure there is much more than 6 percent. What are the elite so afraid of.

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  • R Peters

    One of the things, we as citizens, can do to push the commission is write them! A campaign of emails slamming them let Gary Debate should be a good start.


  • http://sprt76.org Rod Miller

    I USED to admire and respect Gary Johnson, but how can I now that his campaign will help re-elect Obama. THAT is akin to what Perot did to elect Bill Clinton … borderline treason in my view. Yes, Johnson has the right, but how wise is it to be a spoiler to Conservative values.

    Shame on you, Gary … come out and endorse Romney and do your country some good.

    http://sprt76.org … go to this link and watch the 2016 movie for FREE … go NOW before YouTube pulls it!

  • Daniel Hughes

    If you think a Gary Johnson campaign is the difference between a Romney Loss and a Romney Win, you are deluding yourself. Plain and simple.

  • GaryB

    Gary who? Libertine what?

    Honestly, the American public would benefit far more from what I have to say: balance of powers uber all. Not markets, not government but always a mix. Government to invent new areas such as internet, space travel, market to exploit. Forces to expand government against forces to contract. Balance, not some free wilderness fantasy.

  • tek26

    I like the fact that Obama is beating Romney by 9 points in this poll. It’s funny that Johnson get as many votes as he does here. People must not know what a lousy governor he was. He mainly focused on building private prisons and giving the contracts to his fatcat friends. But, I guess that is the RepubloLibertarian way. Anything for buck.