- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 26, 2016

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

In the latest batch of presidential polling, Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson seems to have lost his mojo, shrinking from about 10 percent support to the low single-digits.

Mr. Johnson and his running mate Bill Weld were left off the debate stage, and now they seem to be sailing off into obscurity. On Tuesday, Mr. Weld, a former Massachusetts governor, had a press conference where he blasted Republican nominee Donald Trump and refused to endorse Hillary Clinton — but didn’t exactly express enthusiasm for his running mate either.

According to a report by the Boston Globe, Mr. Weld “all but conceded that he and Johnson were not in any serious contention” because the Commission on Presidential Debates required 15 percent in national polls to qualify for the national debate stage, and his ticket didn’t cut it.

“Given the position of the commission … the deck is still stacked against even a credible third-party ticket with two proven former governors,” Mr. Weld said, the Globe reported.

In early September, the Johnson/Weld ticket was polling around 9.2 percent nationally, according to a RealClearPolitics average of polls. On Wednesday, the libertarian ticket’s polling has been cut in half. The most recent CNN/ORC poll had Mr. Johnson at a mere 3 percent support, down from 7 percent three weeks earlier.

I never believed Mr. Johnson’s support would hold in the 10 percent range, many of his poll respondents were undecideds between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Now that the election is two weeks away, these undecideds are either coming home to the Democrat or Republican candidate.

Mr. Johnson has also not helped his candidacy. He’s had noticeable stumbles on the campaign trail, not knowing what Aleppo, Syria, was in an interview with MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” and then being unable to name a foreign leader in a town hall event with that network’s Chris Matthews.

Still, gains for the libertarian party have been made.

If Mr. Johnson were to somehow receive 5 percent support come Nov. 8, it would be the largest vote total from a non-major party candidate since Ross Perot in 1992, and would be double what Green Party candidate Ralph Nader received in 2000, the Globe reports. The libertarian team will also be on all 50 state ballots — an accomplishment for the party.

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