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Could Gary Johnson Be a Spoiler for Mitt Romney?

Posted: 09/12/2012 9:54 am

Gov. Gary Johnson awoke the morning after Mitt Romney's nomination to find Romney/GOP lawyers launching efforts to block Johnson's ballot access in Ohio, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Iowa, Michigan and Oklahoma .

Johnson prevailed in Ohio, Virginia and Iowa -- now on the ballot.

Johnson is now on 45 with three -- Pennsylvania, Michigan and Oklahoma -- resolved in the courts. The last two, Alabama and Hawaii, are not problematic.

The Democrats and Obama have not tried to block Johnson or Green Party candidate Jill Stein in any state.

Although a recent national poll showed Johnson polling as high as 5.3% and pulling disproportionately from Romney, it is not Johnson's impact nationally that matters but his impact in a handful of swing states that will effect the outcome. A CNN poll Sunday has Johnson at 4% nationally.

Polls by the respected polling firm PPP show that Johnson is pulling 7% in Colorado and as high as 15% in New Mexico, while a Reason Poll shows Johnson at 6% in Wisconsin -- 12% among those who describe themselves as very liberal. A Libertarian Party-funded poll in Iowa had Johnson at 6% and tipped the state to Romney. In all three states, Johnson is pulling disproportionally from Obama! Johnson scored best with voters 18-30, white voters who considered themselves very liberal and the college educated in these states.

To be sure there are swing states where Johnson pulls disproportionately from Romney. PPP had Johnson at 7% in Nevada, 7% in New Hampshire, and 8% in North Carolina. A review of the internal numbers showed Johnson pulling most of his votes from those who called themselves "very conservative," Ron Paul supporters and people who identify with the Tea Party -- voters who otherwise go to Romney. Generally speaking, Johnson still pulls two votes from Obama for every five votes he pulls from Romney in these states.

It is also important to note that Johnson has made extensive efforts to place marijuana initiatives on the ballot in Colorado, Oregon and Washington. This is similar to Karl Rove's successful maneuver to place gay marriage on the ballot in various states to aid the reelection of George W. Bush.

Add 501(c)(4) and super PAC money and the result will be interesting.

 

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