The Good News and Bad News in Gary Johnson’s Polls

 
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Click to expand.

Gary Johnson’s campaign for President has lately had a mix of bad and good news in the polls — more on that in a moment — but the poll on the front page of yesterday’s Washington Post definitely is one he will be talking about. Using SurveyMonkey online methodology, the survey measured voter opinion in each of the 50 states over the past month. And it finds the Libertarian candidate to be a serious factor in the race.

The headline finding for Johnson is that he reaches 15 percent of the vote or better in 15 states, and 10 percent or better in 42 states, that is, all but eight. The states where he makes the strongest showing are his own New Mexico (25 percent); Utah (23 percent); Alaska, Idaho, and South Dakota (19 percent); Kansas (17 percent); Colorado, Iowa, North Dakota, and Washington (16 percent); and Maine, Minnesota, Nebraska, Rhode Island, and Wyoming (15 percent).

At the other end, the eight states that lag most in enthusiasm for the mountain-climbing two-term governor are Louisiana and Maryland at 9 percent; Alabama, New Jersey, and New York at 8 percent; Hawaii and Kentucky at 7 percent; and Mississippi at a mere 4 percent.

It’s hard to dismiss this as statistical noise associated with the imperfections of measuring opinions in small states (where Johnson tends to do best) because both his stronger states and weaker states form coherent geographical clusters. If you were playing Game of the States, you could hop a continuous path on the map through all but two of his best states: Alaska, Idaho, Utah, New Mexico (a corner crossing, but the Milton Bradley rules say that’s okay), then up to Iowa and around Minnesota and the Dakotas to Wyoming. You’d still need to make it over to Maine and Rhode Island, two New England states known for their love of quirkiness, to finish collecting your biggest Johnson fans. The areas of the country not yet enthusiastic about Gary likewise form recognizable clusters: one in Louisiana-Mississippi-Alabama, the other New York-New Jersey-Maryland, plus Kentucky.

According to the new poll, Gary Johnson is not far from overtaking Donald Trump for second place in his home state of New Mexico, while in at least five states he’s within 10 points of pushing Hillary Clinton into third place: Utah (where he trails her by only 4 percent); Idaho and Wyoming (6 percent); and North and South Dakota (10 percent).

In this fluid and surprising election year, with new revelations coming daily and unexpected endorsements likely, anything could happen — including a Johnson move into first place in states like Utah and New Mexico. Yet the Commission on Presidential Debates — its rules and behavior shaped over the years by loyalists of the two major parties — could exclude him based on its calculation of whether he has reached an average of 15 percent before each debate in five CPD-designated major polls.

For better or worse, Johnson’s performance in national polls keeps scattering widely — in six national polls to come out within the past few days he’s scored 12 percent in NBC/SM and IBD, 11 percent in GWU, 9 percent in Fox, and only 7 percent in CNN and Rasmussen. While the new WaPo/SM is consistent with the higher end of that range, the polls preferred by the debate commission — unfortunately for Johnson — tend to be the ones where he underperforms.

There is, of course, no single best way to design and weight a poll. Outcomes for Johnson may vary greatly depending on the sampling of independent voters (who contribute much of his strength) and technology used (Johnson’s support skews dramatically young, which means his supporters are more likely to lack landlines and engage online).

Like it or not, the debate commission’s methods are going to be coming under intense scrutiny. Former Massachusetts governor Bill Weld, Johnson’s running mate, makes a good point here: “They [the debate commission] have a duty to be non-partisan rather than bipartisan.” That same distinction comes up in legislative redistricting, where bipartisan line drawing can sometimes reach a very different result (“You can protect your guys if we can protect ours”) than a nonpartisan process would have done.

A truly nonpartisan commission would need to set some thresholds and standards for debate admission: you don’t need to be a Republican or Democratic partisan to see the problem with letting 12 small-party candidates jostle with Clinton and Trump for camera time.  But is there much doubt that if the debate commission truly followed a non-partisan rather than bipartisan course, Johnson (and perhaps also Green Party nominee Jill Stein) would right now be in a position to practice their zingers for the debate stage?

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  1. The Cloaked Gaijin Member
    The Cloaked Gaijin
    @TheCloakedGaijin

    Walter Olson:

    Click to expand.
    Click to expand.

     The states where he makes the strongest showing are his own New Mexico (25 percent); Utah (23 percent); Alaska, Idaho, and South Dakota (19 percent); Kansas (17 percent); Colorado, Iowa, North Dakota, and Washington (16 percent); and Maine, Minnesota, Nebraska, Rhode Island, and Wyoming (15 percent).

    At the other end, the eight states that lag most in enthusiasm for the mountain-climbing two-term governor are Louisiana and Maryland at 9 percent; Alabama, New Jersey, and New York at 8 percent; Hawaii and Kentucky at 7 percent; and Mississippi at a mere 4 percent.

    Looks like lots of Ross Perot states from the first “I Can’t Trust Clinton” election, 1992:

    Maine 30.44%, Alaska 28.43%, Utah 27.34%, Idaho 27.05%, Kansas 26.99%, Nevada 26.19%, Montana 26.12%, Wyoming 25.65%, Oregon 24.21%, Minnesota 23.96%, Arizona 23.79%, Washington 23.68%, Nebraska 23.63%, Colorado 23.32%, Oklahoma 23.01%.

    Perot’s worst states were Mississippi 8.72%, Tennessee 10.09%, Arkansas 10.43%, Alabama 10.85%, South Carolina 11.55%, Louisiana, 11.81%, Georgia 13.34%, Virginia 13.63% Kentucky 13.66%, North Carolina 13.70%, Maryland 14.18%, and Hawaii 14.22%.

    • #1
  2. Z in MT Member
    Z in MT
    @ZinMT

    I am starting to warm a little toward Johnson. However, I don’t like his immigration and religious liberty stances. The immigration stance I can forgive, because at least it is consistent with the libertarian view. The religious liberty stance is unforgivable, because it takes the side of the secular authoritarians. The other thing that annoys me is he seems to be going after Bernie supporters.

    I heard somewhere that Johnson is out polling Trump in the 18 – 30 demographic.

    • #2
  3. Miffed White Male Member
    Miffed White Male
    @MiffedWhiteMale

    Inclusion in the debates should be based on one simple metric – whether the candidate is on the ballot in enough states to reach 270 electoral votes.  If so, they can theoretically win, and should be on the stage.

    • #3
  4. The King Prawn Inactive
    The King Prawn
    @TheKingPrawn

    Miffed White Male:Inclusion in the debates should be based on one simple metric – whether the candidate is on the ballot in enough states to reach 270 electoral votes. If so, they can theoretically win, and should be on the stage.

    Anything to limit the amount of time the other two have to talk…

    • #4
  5. James Of England Moderator
    James Of England
    @JamesOfEngland

    Z in MT:I am starting to warm a little toward Johnson. However, I don’t like his immigration and religious liberty stances. The immigration stance I can forgive, because at least it is consistent with the libertarian view. The religious liberty stance is unforgivable, because it takes the side of the secular authoritarians. The other thing that annoys me is he seems to be going after Bernie supporters.

    I heard somewhere that Johnson is out polling Trump in the 18 – 30 demographic.

    What stances do you like? Do you prefer the “guns with large magazines are WMDs” support for gun control, or his “emergency spending” on jobs and education for African American men? Does his plan to never drop cases that the FBI investigates seem appealing to you, or his claim that America is allied with ISIS to attack Assad? From supporting Federal funding for PP (because, you know, abortion is a fundamental right, which means the government should pay for it) to explicitly saying that it’s appropriate to violate the Constitution to enact good policy, it seems to me that there is nothing in Johnson that should appeal to people on a right of center site. Not fiscally, not socially, not in terms of individual rights, not in terms of character, not in terms of policy expertise, not in foreign policy.

    • #5
  6. James Of England Moderator
    James Of England
    @JamesOfEngland

    Miffed White Male:Inclusion in the debates should be based on one simple metric – whether the candidate is on the ballot in enough states to reach 270 electoral votes. If so, they can theoretically win, and should be on the stage.

    Did you feel that the earliest Republican debates were the ones in which we learned the most about the leading candidates?

    • #6
  7. James Gawron Inactive
    James Gawron
    @JamesGawron

    Walter,

    First, let me say that this is still a free democracy (as far as I’m concerned). That means you can vote for whoever you want or not vote at all. Second, as this is still a free democracy that means I can analyze what the results will be and ask that people at least confront the reality of their actions.

    Jill Stein is obvious. She pulls 2% away from Hillary. Maybe half those people wouldn’t vote at all if she wasn’t running. That still knocks Hillary down by 1%. In a very tight race, this can still be a factor. Having said that, we must ask the question what about the effect of Johnson. He is pulling 15+% in 14 states according to your numbers. I must believe that most of those votes are coming from Trump. Let’s get clear. That screams SPOILER!!!

    As of yet, I don’t hear anybody categorizing the Johnson campaign that way. Please inform me if and how I am wrong that the votes will be coming from Trump.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #7
  8. James Of England Moderator
    James Of England
    @JamesOfEngland

    Walter Olson:

    A truly nonpartisan commission would need to set some thresholds and standards for debate admission: you don’t need to be a Republican or Democratic partisan to see the problem with letting 12 small-party candidates jostle with Clinton and Trump for camera time. But is there much doubt that if the debate commission truly followed a non-partisan rather than bipartisan course, Johnson (and perhaps also Green Party nominee Jill Stein) would right now be in a position to practice their zingers for the debate stage?

    The debate commission allows any genuine contender to qualify; Perot, for instance, dominated the 1992 debates. It doesn’t allow people who are not. 15% seems like a pretty reasonable delineator for that. While MSNBC, Comedy Central, Colbert, and essentially the whole of the left’s media complex, from The View to Bill Maher are doing everything they can to bring Johnson to somewhere in the ballpark of 15%, it’s not happening. Johnson’s policies only appeal to leftists and his party label mostly only appeals to folks on the right, which means that he doesn’t get the support he’d need. He doesn’t have a record of libertarian achievement that he can run on, which doesn’t help.

    If he ran again for governor (he’s not term limited from doing so), he’d be far more widely watched and be able to have a third chance to implement something libertarian rather than just running up debts, incarceration rates, and spending. Alternatively, if he’d put Penn Jillette or some other libertarian on the ticket (much of his abandonment of his relatively libertarian 2012 platform appears to be about Weld), maybe he’d be in with a chance this cycle. Maybe if he self funded, but the guy doesn’t charity and it would undermine the central point of his campaign (he’s there to make money, not to give it away).

    As it is, he has no more chance than Stein. Fivethirtyeight, another big booster, has never suggested that his chances rose as high as a tenth of a percent, their smallest increment. The debates are the most important part in the campaign to educate voters and hijacking them to…….

    I guess I could finish that sentence more easily if I could see a purpose that would be served by having people who are not seriously trying to become President being on that stage.

    • #8
  9. James Of England Moderator
    James Of England
    @JamesOfEngland

    James Gawron:Walter,

    First, let me say that this is still a free democracy (as far as I’m concerned). That means you can vote for whoever you want or not vote at all. Second, as this is still a free democracy that means I can analyze what the results will be and ask that people at least confront the reality of their actions.

    Jill Stein is obvious. She pulls 2% away from Hillary. Maybe half those people wouldn’t vote at all if she wasn’t running. That still knocks Hillary down by 1%. In a very tight race, this can still be a factor. Having said that, we must ask the question what about the effect of Johnson. He is pulling 15+% in 14 states according to your numbers. I must believe that most of those votes are coming from Trump. Let’s get clear. That screams SPOILER!!!

    As of yet, I don’t hear anybody categorizing the Johnson campaign that way. Please inform me if and how I am wrong that the votes will be coming from Trump.

    Regards,

    Jim

    Those 15% don’t all come from Trump. Polls that ask generally find the weighting falls between a third going to Clinton and two fifths. People who don’t want this to be true will generally point out that polls that include four way splits favor Trump, but that is for the reason you note (Stein’s votes are essentially entirely Democratic).

    • #9
  10. Miffed White Male Member
    Miffed White Male
    @MiffedWhiteMale

    James Of England:

    Miffed White Male:Inclusion in the debates should be based on one simple metric – whether the candidate is on the ballot in enough states to reach 270 electoral votes. If so, they can theoretically win, and should be on the stage.

    Did you feel that the earliest Republican debates were the ones in which we learned the most about the leading candidates?

    I didn’t find any of the Republican debates particularly enlightning, because I didn’t watch them.  I don’t usually find the structure of the Presidential debate system terribly enlightning in any case.  They’re glorified press conferences that don’t deserve the name “debates”, for one thing.  I think I might have watched part of one of the Romney/Obama debates, I’m not really sure.

    But I quit listening to politicians talk a long time ago.  I prefer to judge them on their actions.  I can’t remember the last time I listened to a Presidential address.  (Actually, I can.  I heard part of Obama’s 1st inaugural because it was on in the breakroom at lunch where I worked at the time – before that you’re going back to immediate post-9/11 George W Bush).    I stopped watching the State of the Union address sometime during Bill Clinton’s administration.

    • #10
  11. A-Squared Inactive
    A-Squared
    @ASquared

    James Gawron:He is pulling 15+% in 14 states according to your numbers. I must believe that most of those votes are coming from Trump. Let’s get clear. That screams SPOILER!!!

    As of yet, I don’t hear anybody categorizing the Johnson campaign that way. Please inform me if and how I am wrong that the votes will be coming from Trump.

    I’ve heard the 538 team say on the podcast several times that Clinton’s lead against Trump is bigger in polls that only ask about those 2 candidates than when other options are named.  This inplies that Johnson and Stein are actually pulling more votes from Clinton than Trump.

    I did a quick search for an article discussing this and found this

    When respondents were asked which party’s candidate they would back in their…House race, only 53 percent of Johnson backers said the Republican; 46 percent said they would vote for the Democrat…the 7-point edge in the U.S. House question means that Johnson voters are adding a little less than two-thirds of a percentage point of support to the Republican margin in the national House vote.

    Overall

    Adding together the Johnson and Stein voters creates a group that is slightly more Democratic-leaning than the electorate as a whole. By an 11-point margin, these third-party voters prefer the Democratic candidate for Congress.

    It doesn’t break down by state, so you could be right about the Mountain west states.

    • #11
  12. The Cloaked Gaijin Member
    The Cloaked Gaijin
    @TheCloakedGaijin

    Z in MT:The immigration stance I can forgive, because at least it is consistent with the libertarian view.

    Libertarians don’t believe in borders, the rule of law, or bringing down welfare costs?

    • #12
  13. Fred Cole Inactive
    Fred Cole
    @FredCole

    James Of England:

    Miffed White Male:Inclusion in the debates should be based on one simple metric – whether the candidate is on the ballot in enough states to reach 270 electoral votes. If so, they can theoretically win, and should be on the stage.

    Did you feel that the earliest Republican debates were the ones in which we learned the most about the leading candidates?

    Do you think that 10+ candidates would have the national presence and get enough ballot access to get on stage for the general election?

    • #13
  14. Fred Cole Inactive
    Fred Cole
    @FredCole

    James Of England: The debate commission allows any genuine contender to qualify;

    How do you define “genuine”?

    What about Johnson makes him not a “genuine contender”?

    What about Trump and/or Hillary is in any way “genuine”?  (Because both seem to be the antitheses of “genuine.”)

    • #14
  15. Fred Cole Inactive
    Fred Cole
    @FredCole

    James Of England: It doesn’t allow people who are not. 15% seems like a pretty reasonable delineator for that.

    It’s also a bar high enough to eliminate competition to the duopoly.

    To anyone reading this who doesn’t know: The PCD is a fraud.  That’s not my word, that’s the term the League of Women Voters used in their October 1988 press release withdrawing support from future CPD sponsored debated.

    “It has become clear to us that the candidates’ organizations aim to add debates to their list of campaign-trail charades devoid of substance, spontaneity and honest answers to tough questions,” [LWV President] Neuman said.

    Sounds familiar?  The CPD was pulling the same crap in 1988 that it does today.  The CPD is wholly owned by the two parties and their goal is to ensure the “debates” are a process controlled by the two parties, and to keep competition out.

    • #15
  16. James Of England Moderator
    James Of England
    @JamesOfEngland

    A-Squared:

    James Gawron:He is pulling 15+% in 14 states according to your numbers. I must believe that most of those votes are coming from Trump. Let’s get clear. That screams SPOILER!!!

    As of yet, I don’t hear anybody categorizing the Johnson campaign that way. Please inform me if and how I am wrong that the votes will be coming from Trump.

    I’ve heard the 538 team say on the podcast several times that Clinton’s lead against Trump is bigger in polls that only ask about those 2 candidates than when other options are named. This inplies that Johnson and Stein are actually pulling more votes from Clinton than Trump.

    I did a quick search for an article discussing this and found this

    That’s not the first time that Harry Enten has deliberately obscured Johnson’s impact by describing Johnson in detail where it muddies the picture and “third party” where it doesn’t. If, as in the example used here, Stein gets 4% in Trump’s favor, and third parties get 1% in Trump’s favor, then the other of the two parties necessarily gets 3% in Clinton’s favor (X+Y=1, Y=4, therefore X=-3), suggesting a Libertarian Party demographic split of roughly two Republicans for every Democrat. .

    When respondents were asked which party’s candidate they would back in their…House race, only 53 percent of Johnson backers said the Republican; 46 percent said they would vote for the Democrat…the 7-point edge in the U.S. House question means that Johnson voters are adding a little less than two-thirds of a percentage point of support to the Republican margin in the national House vote.

    This is a somewhat surprising number; apparently they were pushed hard enough to give a compliant answer that less than only one percent of respondents refused. This is in a poll where more Johnson voters said that they didn’t know who they would vote for than said they’d vote for the Democratic candidate in the initial questioning. In general, when you push people that hard, you get whacky results, a position that becomes even stronger when you’re asking people to undermine answers they’ve already given (and earlier in the question they’d already stated that they were casting a vote that was, for many of them, a vote protesting against the GOP).

    Fivethirtyeight wouldn’t have don’t that if they were even pretending to be objective. Have you listened to their podcast? They started this cycle being, as they were last cycle, a bunch of liberals pretending to be objective but have started openly cursing and resorting to vulgarity to express their distaste for Trump and everything he stands for. Their model still seems to be the best in the business, but their commentary is now entirely partisan.

    Overall

    Adding together the Johnson and Stein voters creates a group that is slightly more Democratic-leaning than the electorate as a whole. By an 11-point margin, these third-party voters prefer the Democratic candidate for Congress.

    It doesn’t break down by state, so you could be right about the Mountain west states.

    Of course adding the Greens and anyone who isn’t the Greens but is in the same vague range of volume will leave you with a Democratic leaning sample. If you sample Alava a and the Green Party as a single unit, you’ll end up with a Democratic leaning sample. It’s not a useful exercise, though; there aren’t many things that a candidate could do to follow the advice to appeal to both groups; they’re too different. The only reason you would conflate the groups before doing the analysis is if you intentionally wanted to mislead the reader.

    • #16
  17. James Of England Moderator
    James Of England
    @JamesOfEngland

    Fred Cole:

    James Of England: The debate commission allows any genuine contender to qualify;

    How do you define “genuine”?

    What about Johnson makes him not a “genuine contender”?

    What about Trump and/or Hillary is in any way “genuine”? (Because both seem to be the antitheses of “genuine.”)

    I suggested the answer in the comment. It’s hard to do objectively; I’d probably go with a 20% cutoff, but the CPD decided to go broad and settle for a 15% cutoff. I’d also be happy with a measurement that included funding as a separate component. It’s widely contended that it costs roughly a billion dollars to run a Presidential campaign today. Call the cutoff a third of a billion. Or, by this stage, since we’re half way through, a hundred million.

    What makes Trump/ and or Hillary genuine contenders is that they each have a substantial chance to win. Fivethirtyeight’s polls plus puts it at roughly 2/3 Clinton, 1/3 Trump. Compare Johnson or Stein and you’ll notice that not only has no national poll ever seen them win, but no state poll has done so either, nor come close to doing so. Evan McMullin and David French have similar chances of success, and David hasn’t even declared. People with massively greater chances of becoming the next President include Kaine, Cruz, Pence, Biden, Romney, Ryan, and a host of others who would be in with a chance if Trump and/ or Clinton were to die between now and inauguration. We don’t put them up on the debate stage despite their superior chances because the Presidential debates aren’t there to award participation prizes to people who only take part in order to pad their pockets (Johnson) or vent their spleens (Stein).

    • #17
  18. James Of England Moderator
    James Of England
    @JamesOfEngland

    Fred Cole:

    James Of England: It doesn’t allow people who are not. 15% seems like a pretty reasonable delineator for that.

    It’s also a bar high enough to eliminate competition to the duopoly.

    To anyone reading this who doesn’t know: The PCD is a fraud. That’s not my word, that’s the term the League of Women Voters used in their October 1988 press release withdrawing support from future CPD sponsored debated.

    “It has become clear to us that the candidates’ organizations aim to add debates to their list of campaign-trail charades devoid of substance, spontaneity and honest answers to tough questions,” [LWV President] Neuman said.

    Sounds familiar? The CPD was pulling the same crap in 1988 that it does today. The CPD is wholly owned by the two parties and their goal is to ensure the “debates” are a process controlled by the two parties, and to keep competition out.

    Can you explain why the bar is so low? Why was Perot permitted to debate if the entire point is to prevent people from debating? How hard would it be to set the rules at “the Republican and Democratic nominees will be on the debate stage”?

    If there is one positive thing to come out of it, though, it is that Johnson has continually promised that he wouldn’t be in the race if he can’t win, and that he can’t win if he doesn’t get into the debates. As such, if he has a modicum of integrity, he will pull out when he discovers that he’s not going to get into the debates.

    • #18
  19. A-Squared Inactive
    A-Squared
    @ASquared

    James Of England: Have you listened to their podcast? They started this cycle being, as they were last cycle, a bunch of liberals pretending to be objective but have started openly cursing and resorting to vulgarity to express their distaste for Trump and everything he stands for. Their model still seems to be the best in the business, but their commentary is now entirely partisan.

    I listen to their podcast almost every week. I agree, their commentary is very left-leaning.  Listening to their live podcasts, it’s clear their customer base is very left-leaning, but I heard them say today that their job is not to make anyone “feel” better about the election.  I think their quantitative analysis is just that, quantitative.

    • #19
  20. Fred Cole Inactive
    Fred Cole
    @FredCole

    James Of England: While MSNBC, Comedy Central, Colbert, and essentially the whole of the left’s media complex, from The View to Bill Maher are doing everything they can to bring Johnson to somewhere in the ballpark of 15%

    Clearly Hendrik Hertzberg didn’t get the memo

    • #20
  21. James Of England Moderator
    James Of England
    @JamesOfEngland

    Fred Cole:

    James Of England:

    Miffed White Male:Inclusion in the debates should be based on one simple metric – whether the candidate is on the ballot in enough states to reach 270 electoral votes. If so, they can theoretically win, and should be on the stage.

    Did you feel that the earliest Republican debates were the ones in which we learned the most about the leading candidates?

    Do you think that 10+ candidates would have the national presence and get enough ballot access to get on stage for the general election?

    Yes. Obviously.

    Those are easier criteria than existed for the GOP debates; Rand Paul could have gotten on there easily. It doesn’t cost much to get onto the cheaper ballots and you wouldn’t have to sweat it getting onto the pricier ones. For a few hundred thousand, you’d get your time to strut the stage on some of the highest viewed television in the world. You’d get unbelievable amounts of free media. You wouldn’t need the book you were hawking to be any good for it to more than recoup the costs. Or, if you were running for reasons other than to make money, it’d be by far the most efficient way of promoting your message of the saving properties of national veganism, or of recognizing that the First Amendment only bans the Feds, not state governments, from having an established religion. If you wanted your daughter to get into showbiz it’d be the most cost effective way of going about it (assuming she met the age requirements). More so if you wanted to anchor a news program.

    There were six parties that felt that they reached major party status by having access to 270 EVs in 2012 (R/D/L/G, Constitution, and Justice). Socialism and Liberation made itself available to 28.6% of the population. Add Reform, and you’re already up to eight parties. Just two serious self promoters and you’re at ten, and two self promoters seems weirdly low. All those guys did it when there wasn’t a reward. Add a reward of massive exposure, getting to swing the election by getting a tough jab in on the candidate you hate the most, and a host of other rewards and I’d expect to see at least thirty candidates jostling for the stage, as sometimes happened in Iraqi elections.

    • #21
  22. Z in MT Member
    Z in MT
    @ZinMT

    Jeez. It seems @jamesofengland has as much of a hatred for Johnson as he had for Cruz.

    • #22
  23. Joseph Stanko Coolidge
    Joseph Stanko
    @JosephStanko

    Z in MT:Jeez. It seems @jamesofengland has as much of a hatred for Johnson as he had for Cruz.

    I stopped reading what he has to say about Johnson a few months ago, his attacks just seemed so over-the-top as to lack any credibility.  I suppose it’s the same way the Trump supporters must feel about us Never Trumpers.

    • #23
  24. Joseph Stanko Coolidge
    Joseph Stanko
    @JosephStanko

    Z in MT: The religious liberty stance is unforgivable, because it takes the side of the secular authoritarians.

    This whole cycle has tended to raise the bar for “unforgivable.”  If I’m going to consider voting for Trump — and I’m trying to at least keep an open mind on that score — I’m going to have to overlook a whole lot that I would have once considered “unforgivable.”  Johnson’s sins pale by comparison.

    • #24
  25. Fred Cole Inactive
    Fred Cole
    @FredCole

    James Of England: MSNBC, Comedy Central, Colbert, and essentially the whole of the left’s media complex, from The View to Bill Maher are doing everything they can to bring Johnson to somewhere in the ballpark of 15%,

    Be sure to include Mitt Romney in that list:

    https://mobile.twitter.com/MittRomney/status/773631092570062850

    • #25
  26. Fred Cole Inactive
    Fred Cole
    @FredCole

    James Of England: Yes. Obviously.

    But then how come no one did that before 1988?  How come there weren’t a plethora of pseudo-candidates with books to hawk in prior elections?

    • #26
  27. Fred Cole Inactive
    Fred Cole
    @FredCole

    James Of England: I’d probably go with a 20% cutoff, but the CPD decided to go broad and settle for a 15% cutoff.

    The problem is that such a high cut-off has allowed exactly one third-party candidate into the debates in the last seven cycles.  Your 20% cutoff and the CPD’s 15% cutoff has the practical effect of excluding all independent voices.

    And as with any controlled market (in this case controlled by the two major parties colluding together), when there’s no outside competition, the quality of the product suffers.

    It’s been bad for years.  Now it’s finally become dangerous.  Preserving the two-party duopoly, as you seem eager to do, does nothing to resolve that problem.  The only solution is to open things up to more competition.

    • #27
  28. Frank Soto Contributor
    Frank Soto
    @FrankSoto

    Fred Cole:

    James Of England:

    Miffed White Male:Inclusion in the debates should be based on one simple metric – whether the candidate is on the ballot in enough states to reach 270 electoral votes. If so, they can theoretically win, and should be on the stage.

    Did you feel that the earliest Republican debates were the ones in which we learned the most about the leading candidates?

    Do you think that 10+ candidates would have the national presence and get enough ballot access to get on stage for the general election?

    They all had ballot access for the election they were in…the primaries.

    • #28
  29. Frank Soto Contributor
    Frank Soto
    @FrankSoto

    Fred Cole: The problem is that such a high cut-off has allowed exactly one third-party candidate into the debates in the last seven cycles. Your 20% cutoff and the CPD’s 15% cutoff has the practical effect of excluding all independent voices.

    Feature, not a bug.

    • #29
  30. Fred Cole Inactive
    Fred Cole
    @FredCole

    Frank Soto: They all had ballot access for the election they were in…the primaries.

    Yeah. In case you didn’t catch it, we were talking about the CPD and general election debates.

    • #30
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