politics

Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson polls at 11 percent



Gary Johnson has 11-percent support among voters in Indiana, according to a WTHR and Howey Politics poll.

Trump currently leads with 43 percent, and Clinton is in second with 36 percent, according to the poll.

[COLUMN: Who should Hoosiers vote for?]

Joe Hauptmann, chair of the Libertarian Party of Indiana, said the Libertarian Party is making a statement and posing a threat in the upcoming elections. For the first time since 1996, the Libertarian candidate will be on the ballot in all 50 states, he said.

“It’s still a long shot, but it’s a legitimate long shot,” Hauptmann said.

Indiana had a contested primary this year, and many disaffected Cruz voters are finding Johnson to be an attractive option, said Bernard Fraga, IU assistant political science professor. He said voters are choosing the third party option to make a statement of dissatisfaction to the Republican Party in particular.

Johnson’s support base is largely made of people under age 30. Johnson has the support of 18 percent of young people. In comparison, Donald Trump has 21 percent, according to a YouGov poll.

Young voters are drawn to the live-and-let-live philosophy espoused by Johnson and the Libertarian Party, Hauptmann said.

Most young people want to keep the money they earn and want the government to stay out of their business, both of which are platforms of the Libertarian Party, Hauptmann said.

IU senior Brandon Lavy said he will be voting for Johnson in the upcoming election.

“Quite frankly, the idea of a Trump or Clinton presidency terrifies me,” Lavy said.

The United States has been at war too long overseas and domestically with the war on drugs, Lavy said. Johnson is the only candidate who Lavy said talks about how the U.S.’s foreign interventions have gone awry.

Lavy said he thinks Johnson may not win the national election but he has the chance to win a couple of states. A vote for a third party candidate is not a waste of a vote, he said.

Lavy said he and other Johnson supporters from Young Americans for Liberty are carpooling to hear Johnson speak today at Purdue University.

“He has a chance of making a mark and showing that third parties should have a voice,” Lavy said. “Anything can happen in 2016.”

However, Fraga said the American political system is not designed for a third party to succeed. Instead it is about how much the third party will influence the two main parties, he said.

Johnson needs to poll at an average of 15 percent in five polls to participate in the presidential debates, as per the Comission on Presidential Debates. Currently, he is polling at 9 percent nationally according to an ABC News and Washington Post poll. Johnson will need to average 25 percent in the next two polls to participate in the first debate Sept. 26.

“The Republican and Democratic Parties should be asking themselves how they will get the support of Gary Johnson voters in the next election,” Fraga said.

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