Libertarian Party presidential nominee Gary Johnson continued his streak of strong poll performances in a Fox News survey released on Thursday. In that poll, Johnson got 12 percent of the vote. Democratic presumptive nominee Hillary Clinton led with 39 percent and Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump got 36 percent.
Both major party candidates are still viewed more unfavorably than favorably. Trump tops the unfavorability ratings at 58 percent while Clinton follows at 56 percent. This poll was also taken during the controversy over Trump’s racially charged attacks against the Indiana-born “Mexican” judge hearing his Trump University fraud trial. The poll has a margin of error of 4 percent.
Johnson’s numbers show his strength with two groups: independents and young voters. Johnson beats Clinton among independents 23 percent to 22 percent, while Trump wins them with 32 percent. Johnson also takes 18 percent of voters under the age of 35.
From The Hill:
The Fox News survey found Johnson taking 8 percent support from Democrats — better than Trump’s 7 percent support. Trump has similarly made an appeal to Sanders supporters.
Among Republicans, Johnson takes 11 percent, compared to only 6 percent for Clinton. The former secretary of State has talked about reaching out to members of the GOP who say they can never support Trump.
The socially liberal Johnson, who supports gay marriage, abortion rights and legalizing marijuana, does best among young voters, taking 18 percent support among those under the age of 35.
He does poorly among older voters, taking only 4 percent support among those over the age of 65.
Gary Johnson is benefitting from deep dissatisfaction with the two major party candidates more than anything else. Johnson’s task over the next few months will be to turn a vote for him from “none of the above” to “Gary for president.” He needs to speak about issues that Americans care about and do so in a credible manner.
There are two goals the Johnson campaign is trying to reach. The first is to get to 15 percent in the polling average in order to qualify for the nationally televised presidential debates. Right now, he’s within striking distance of that magic number.
The second goal is to get 5 percent of the vote nationally on Election Day. That would trigger federal matching funds for the Libertarian Party and would help with ballot access in many states. Right now, Johnson would easily cross that threshold.