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Poll shows Gary Johnson at 10.6% in Ohio — is that for real?

By   /   October 1, 2012  /   No Comments

Does Libertarian Party presidential candidate Gary Johnson really have more than 10 percent support in the critical battleground state of Ohio? Or is the number just a mirage?

While most political observers and pollsters obsess about the numbers between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, a poll last week by an organization called Gravis Marketing showed the former two-term governor of New Mexico picking up support of 10.6 percent of 594 likely voters who answered a telephone survey between September 21-22.

Gary Johnson, Libertarian Party candidate for President

“I can’t answer exactly why” Johnson scored so highly in the poll, Doug Kaplan, the president of Gravis Marketing told Capitol Report New Mexico on Monday (Oct. 1). “Ten percent is tremendous.”

While most all other polling organizations have asked potential voters to choose among Obama, Romney and “other,” Gravis included Johnson in its survey of Ohio, which holds 18 Electoral College votes. Here were the results when Johnson’s name was included:

11. If the Presidential election was held today and the candidates were Democrat Barack Obama, Republican Mitt Romey, and Libertarian Gary Johnson, whom would you vote?

Johnson 10.6%

Obama 44.5%

Other/Unsure 7.1%

Romney 37.8%

“What it shows,” Kaplan said, “is Romney has a bigger problem in Ohio. His votes are soft when you put in a third-party name in there.”

In the same poll, when respondents were asked to choose between just the Obama-Biden and Romney-Ryan tickets and Johson was excluded, Obama led 45.2 to 44.3, with 10.4 percent choosing Other/Unsure.

So, if the numbers are to be relied on, are they a measure of Johnson’s strength or simply a measure of dissatisfaction with Obama and Romney?

On one hand, Kaplan said, “I think Johnson is doing well. He has a strong message to Ron Paul voters” but a moment later said, “Do I think [Johnson] will get 10 percent in Ohio? Probably not. But you don’t know, he could swing the election.”

In a previous Gravis Marketing poll of Ohio that was conducted September 7-8, Johnson received 4.5 percent. That’s a solid number for a third-party candidate in a swing state but it does raise eyebrows that Johnson’s support could more than double in the space of two weeks.

Kaplan said he’s considering doing another poll in Ohio this coming weekend.

Not as well-known as other polling organizations such as Rasmussen or Gallup, Gravis Marketing bills itself as a non-partisan research firm. It’s based out of the Orlando, Florida area and Kaplan says it has five employees.

Over the weekend, the Columbus Dispatch released its own statewide poll in the presidential race, showing Obama leading Romney 51-42 percent but — as most other polling organizations have done in this election cycle — it did not include Johnson among the choices for respondents.

In recent weeks, three national polling groups included Johnson’s name in surveys of US voters. A Reason/Rupe poll released September 21 had Johnson at 6 percent nationally, a CNN/ORC survey released September 10 had Johnson at 4 percent and a JZ Analytics poll had Johnson at 4.3 percent nationally. Update: A September 23 Zogby/JZAnalytics poll had Johnson at 2 percent nationally.

“We’ve had Johnson at between 2 and 4 percent in various states,” Kaplan said. “In a close election that can make all the difference. Remember [Ralph] Nader in Florida in 2000.”


Click here to look at the Gravis Marketing poll in Ohio showing Johnson at 10.6 percent.

And click here to see the Gravis Marketing blog.

And for what it’s worth, over the weekend, political writer Conor Friedersdorf of the liberal weekly magazine The Atlantic wrote an article called, “Why I Refuse to Vote for Barack Obama,” and said he was voting for Johnson. Click here to read the article.


Rob formerly served as staff reporter for Watchdog.org.

  • Elizabeth

    Most polling organizations don’t even include Gary Johnson. There have been multiple reports from Gary Johnson supporters that they get called by a polling comapny and they pollster says, “Who are you voting for Obama or Romney” to which the Johnson supporter says “Gary Johnson.” The pollster then says they can’t accept that answer and then rephrase it in such a way as to force a response for either Romney or Obama. These people who have reported such interactions say that most of the time the pollster gives up and marks them down as “Undecided”. Though I get the feeling more often than not they slap them into the Obama or Romney catagory.

  • Robert Fallin

    Of course it is real and Gary Johnson’s numbers would be a lot higher if more people knew about him or hand any confidence Gary Johnson could win Ohio.

  • MartR

    @Elizabeth – That is precisely what happened with me. The recorded polls often don’t offer another option so I just hang on the line. One did offer “Other” with no party mentioned. The live person who called ended the inquiry as soon as I said “Neither” when the only choices were RomBama

    Many of these polls are just plain rigged.

  • Christian Berke

    I find it hard to believe that this is true. The Johnson campaign is a sham.

    I used to support Gary Johnson and even contributed to his campaign. However, now I believe its a sham to raise and keep money. There has been mass email blasts, facebook postings, etc- all claiming to raise money to put Johnson on the TV. Its now October and the campaign has raised $1.8 Million and taken out NO tv ads. This is a disgrace. According to Campaign finance records, all of the money is being pocketed by Johnson’s campaign manager, Ron Nielson.

    If the Johnson campaign was serious about getting into the debates they would be taking out tv ads to increase his support and put pressure on the major parties to include him. Instead they are stealing our money- THIS IS PROOF ON THE FEC WEBSITE- Look up his campaign records yourself and see!!! http://www.fec.gov/finance/disclosure/candcmte_info.shtml

  • Kulanapan

    Christian Berke,

    $2 million does not buy much TV time. Obama and Romney have hundreds of millions of dollars at their disposal. You cannot possibly know what it keeping Johnson from airing commercials. Maybe he’s still waiting for just the right time…

    By the way, look up the info yourself! It clearly shows that he’s spending a lot of his money on fundraising, consulting, and legal services. He is, after all, fighting dozens of lawsuits from the Republicans and Democrats trying to keep him off the ballot, as well a lawsuit against the CPD for excluding him from the debates.

    Johnson doesn’t have much money. He’s relying on a grassroots effort from the likes of you and me! People need to take an interest in their government!

  • Gunderson

    Christian Berke, Interesting. I’ve seen that exact same false post in several other articles. WORD for WORD. Ya social marketing Robama twip. Go spin your lies some place else.

  • William Maxwell

    According to Campaign finance records, 85% of August spending ($192,00) was on spent on Media, Travel, and Advisory Services.

    During the same period of time, the Obama campaign spent $1,059,874 on consulting, $1,383,452 on travel, and $72,803,829 on media. $62,035,412

    was to one group, GMMB (http://www.gmmb.com/), while spending $3,068,571 on payroll for August, which would be the averages wages of over 900 people.

    In August the Romney Campaign spent $21,057,834 on consulting, $17,200,724 on media, and $3,820,101 on travel, and has paid $3,245,960 in payroll. $26,723,028 was to American Rambler Productions, and $11,547,548 was to SCM Associates.

    Opensecret’s listing of Johnson’s spending as “Administrative” is misleading, at best, when you understand how campaigns are run.

  • Donavan Spencer

    As an ex-patriot Buckeye, I have faith that it will be the good sense of the people of Ohio which will play the most prominent roll in the election of Gary Johnson as President.


  • http://www.reelradio.com/dj Don Jennett

    What I can’t understand is why Johnson is only polling 2% in his own state of New Mexico! He was an exceptionally popular governor. Polling organizations must be simply asking “Obama, Romney or ‘other’,” but other/undecided is only 4%. You’d think New Mexicans would at least register him as “other.” Weird. I’m in California and Gary has my vote.

  • Sheryl Wilson

    Hi, it is a known fact that the two main parties are cheating Gary Johnson and this goes for their pollsters and people commenting on the net to try to destroy Gary Johnson. The game of politics I suppose ! I believe Gary did mention that he has the highest approval rating from his state but I am not certain this was for polling or just approval rating due to service to the people. It always seems that it is tribal warfare…LOL

  • Patti Jp Edwards

    For a more accurate poll, as of this moment they have polled nearly 6 million voters. http://www.isidewith.com/ Gary Johnson is sometimes tied with Obama and sometimes leading. according to the site Johnson ranges from 38% – 59% depending on the state. Romney is trailing in most states.