It appears it is Republicans, not Democrats, who have a third party problem.
Sometimes, when a person so vehemently disagrees with the nominee their party has put forward, they decide to vote third party. Media coverage wrongly suggests Sanders voters will vote third party in meaningful numbers, when Republicans have expressed far more interest in voting for a third party candidate.
Polls released recently have shown that the media are ignoring this group at their own peril. A surprisingly large number of Republicans plan to vote for Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson this election.
From a recent IBD/TIPP Poll:
Four times as many Republicans intend to vote for a third party candidate as Democrats. Many of these Republicans have one candidate in mind: Gary Johnson – the Libertarian candidate, who has been pushing hard for Republican votes:
“I think Donald Trump wholly alienates more than half of Republicans,” Johnson told MSNBC. “If nothing comes of this election with regard to the Libertarian Party, then nothing is going to ever come of it, I don’t think.” – Source: MSNBC
According to the most recent Monmouth Poll, which heavily explored Johnson’s third party candidacy, Johnson was winning 13% of Republicans compared to only 4% of Democrats. Other independent candidates didn’t even make the cut. The evidence of Republican interest in Johnson is even clearer when you look at Google Trends. Gary Johnson spiked after Trump became the presumptive nominee of the Republican Party:
This is a major problem for Trump. In 2000, Ralph Nader’s presence swung the race heavily and has been cited as the reason Bush won the election. For comparison, Ralph Nader never polled above 6% in the 2000 election cycle polls. As more people see the dissension in the ranks of the Republican Party leadership, they may feel emboldened to cast their vote for a candidate they see as less extreme than Donald Trump.
Rachel Maddow reports on Gary Johnson’s rising numbers:
(AP Photo/ Richard Shiro)