Libertarian Party presidential candidate Gary Johnson is making a comeback in the polls, gaining some popularity since his failed bid for the Republican nomination last year.
Johnson is polling at 5.3 percent, according to a poll released last week by JZ Analytics.
“That’s a big deal,” Johnson told Capitol Report New Mexico. “We’re at 5 [percent] today, we could get to 7 tomorrow because people will check it out.”
Johnson is still polling far behind the two presidential front-runners, Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, who polled at 43 percent and 38 percent, respectively.
However, Johnson has gained popularity in recent months. A JZ Analytics/Washington Times poll from May had him at only two percent.
“It’s all good, from our vantage point a lot more money is coming in,” Johnson said at a libertarian-leaning meeting called Freedom Fest in Las Vegas. “If people get the notion that I could win, that could be a game-changer. We’re not there yet, I’m not saying that, but these numbers are encouraging.”
Indeed, Johnson’s libertarian ideas have been gaining steam over the past few years, particularly with growing public support for marijuana legalization, reining in government spending and allowing gay couples to marry.
“If you ask people questions, as various pollsters do periodically … like ‘is government too big?’ or ‘does government need to do more to help people,’ ‘should government push traditional values?’ or ‘should government stay out of the realm of values’ you can identify something like 15-20 percent of the public as holding libertarian views,” David Boaz, vice president of the libertarian Cato Institute, told The Daily Caller News Foundation.
Boaz believes that Johnson should target libertarian-leaning Republicans who supported Texas Rep. Ron Paul’s presidential campaigns.
“Certainly if I were Gary Johnson I’d be going after that 10-20 percent of the Republican group that was attracted to Ron Paul,” he said. “There was at least one poll that showed the more you like Ron Paul, the less likely you were to vote for McCain. So that would be very encouraging to Gary Johnson. More people liked Ron Paul in 2012 than in 2008 and therefore there should be a bigger group of people who are open to voting for a third party candidate.”
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