Libertarian Party presidential candidate Gary Johnson is supported by six percent of likely voters, according to a new Reason-Rupe poll.
Johnson also has a favorability rating of seven percent, though 65 percent of likely voters said they had never heard of him, and 14 percent hold an unfavorable view.
Johnson is still polling far behind the major party candidates, with President Barack Obama taking 49 percent and Republican challenger Mitt Romney taking 40 percent in a three-way race, according to Reason-Rupe.
A JZ Analytics/Washington Times poll from May had the Libertarian at only two percent. And a second JZ Analytics poll from July had Johnson at 5.3 percent.
Another JZ Analytics poll from earlier this month, however, put Johnson at just 4.3 percent.
Poll results vary widely in individual states as well. A recent Denver Post poll found Johnson commanding only three percent support in Colorado, while Public Policy Polling recently gave Johnson seven percent support in Montana.
In Johnson’s home state of New Mexico he polls at seven percent, according to the Albuquerque Journal. And a Gravis Marketing/Captol Correspondent poll from this month gives Johnson 4.5 percent in Ohio.
A Gravis poll also has Johnson with 3.8 percent in Virginia, taking one percent support away from both Romney and Obama.
Johnson’s libertarian ideas have been gaining steam recently, particularly with growing public support for marijuana legalization, reining in government spending and allowing gay couples to marry.
Even the conservative tea party movement has begun to take on libertarian characteristics, argues one study.
A recent study by the libertarian Cato Institute suggests that the tea party movement is more libertarian than people think, and pigeon-holing the tea party as part of the “religious right” may be a mistake.
“The tea party is upending the conventional wisdom that Republican candidates must placate socially conservative voters to win primaries. Increasingly, Republican candidates must win over tea party voters on libertarian economic issues,” according to the study.
“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 Cato Institute, previously told The Daily Caller News Foundation.
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