On Monday afternoon (Aug. 6), a tweet on the account of Public Policy Polling that read:
The “Twit-osphere” lit up as Johnson supporters, who have been complaining about national polling organizations not including Johnson in presidential surveys, took offense:
Capitol Report New Mexico left a voicemail Tuesday with Tom Jensen of PPP, which is based in North Carolina and has been affiliated with the Democratic Party, to see who in the organization sent out the tweet and why. As soon as we hear back, we’ll post PPP’s answers.
The Johnson campaign was holding its fire on PPP.
“We in the campaign are not angry about it,” media representative Joe Hunter said Tuesday. “We took it as a good sign.”
“Because if [PPP] is going to post something like that, it shows that our supporters are getting the message through to them to put Gov. Johnson in their polls.”
Johnson’s ultimate goal is to get on the stage with Barack Obama and Mitt Romney at the three televised Presidential Debates later this year to spread his libertarian gospel to a nationwide audience. In order to do that, he has to score at 15 percent or better in at least five nationally-recognized polling organizations.
But nearly all of the national polling organizations don’t even include Johnson in their questions about whom voters prefer to see in the White House.
Ironically, PPP has actually been one of the few polling groups that has included Johnson in some of their surveys. They’ve asked about the former two-term governor from New Mexico in Colorado (where 7 percent of the voters surveyed favored Johnson), New Hampshire (where Johnson also got 7 percent), Arizona (9 percent), Montana (8 percent), Massachusetts (1 percent) and New Mexico (13 percent).
Update: On Tuesday, PPP released its latest poll in Colorado and it showed Johnson at 6 percent in a matchup with Obama and Romney — virtually the same as when PPP looked at the state in June. One interesting aspect of the poll showed Johnson taking slightly more from Obama than Romney. When asked to choose between Obama or Romney, Obama won 49-43. But when Johnson’s name was added, Obama’s 6-point lead on Romney dropped to 4 points (46-42). In a quick telephone interview Johnson said of the results, “That’s great. I’d live to be a spoiler on both sides.”
Last month, JZ Analytics/Washington Times conducted a national survey that included Johnson and he received 5.3 percent, compared to 43.6 for Obama and 38.0 for Romney.
Johnson supporters have stepped up their efforts in recent weeks, e-mailing and calling polling organizations calling for them to include Johnson in voter preferences.
“Obviously a lot of these polling organizations are not on board,” Hunter said, “and we have to keep working on them.”
But on Monday, Rasmussen Reports sent out a message on its website saying that it doesn’t plan on add Johnson to its surveys:
Some people believe that including Johnson will show a deep level of support for a third party candidate. Some even believe he could generate enough polling support to qualify for participation in the Presidential debates. Others say he could steal votes away from one of the leading candidates and ultimately impact who will win the race.
We respectfully disagree. It is true that voters are unhappy with the choice between President Obama and Mitt Romney. Half view it as nothing more than the choice between a lesser of two evils.
However, experience has shown us that asking about “Some Other Candidate” provides a more accurate view of the race than including third party candidates. Our current polling finds that about 4% to 6% of voters say that they will vote for someone other than Obama or Romney. When we ask them a follow-up question, less than half say they will stick with that third party choice.
Therefore, we have concluded that the most accurate measure of the Obama-Romney race is to leave Johnson’s name out of the mix.
Earlier this year, IBOPE/Zogby posted that it would start including Johnson in national polls but since that item was posted in May, there’s no record of IBOPE/Zogby conducting a national presidential poll.
The last third-party candidate to appear in the presidential debates was Ross Perot back in 1992.
“You simply can’t ignore, if you want to have an accurate poll Gov. Johnson has to be included,” Hunter said. “He’s going to be on the ballot. It only makes sense to include him.”
But it’s August and the first presidential debate is scheduled in less than two months — Oct. 3 in Denver.
“Time is not running out,” Hunter said, “but it is running short.”
In other news concerning Johnson’s campaign, according to a reporter from the Bangor Daily News, Johnson has qualified to get on the ballot in Maine.
Last Friday (Aug. 3). volunteers submitted 4,355 signature petitions, according to the Secretary of State’s office.