Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Pollster John Zogby sees Libertarian Gary Johnson having an impact on younger voters nationwide

Writing in Forbes, pollster John Zogby notes that President Obama will have a more difficult time capturing the youth vote ("First Globals") this time around because

. . . hard times and the growing libertarian leanings of young voters will make them a more difficult target than four years ago.
While Zogby predicts that a majority of these voters will still cast ballots for Obama, he sees their turn-out being depressed, and a potentially significant minority defecting to . . .
John Zogby

Very few of Obama’s young supporters from 2008 are likely defect to Romney. Some may not vote, and I see the possibility of others abandoning both parties and instead choosing the Libertarian candidate.
Although Zogby believes Ron Paul would make a more effective candidate than Governor Gary Johnson, he nonetheless believes that with this youth defection from Obama, Johnson could become a significant factor in the General Election:

Young voters have been the energy behind Ron Paul (remember him?) He is still in the GOP race for President, apparently looking to impact the party platform. Had Paul chosen to be the nominee of the national Libertarian Party, he would have had the biggest impact of any third party candidate since Ross Perot in 1992 and 1996. 
Libertarians meet this week to choose their Presidential ticket. Gary E. Johnson, the former governor of New Mexico, who briefly ran for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, is the most likely nominee. He wants to legalize marijuana, and that is what the media will likely most focus on. 
Johnson expects to be on the ballot in all 50 states. That will be his chief resource. I don’t expect the debate commission will give him a chair alongside Obama and Romney. But the Internet will give him access to the many First Globals who aren’t keen about either major party choice.

How would this be significant?

While most Republican strategists worry about Libertarians tipping a swing state like North Carolina way from the GOP column, Zogby thinks that the exact opposite is a possibility:

Should any battleground states be decided by one or two points, the Libertarian candidate could tip the balance. In an interview with the New YorkTimes, Johnson said he expects to take more votes from Obama than Romney. We’ll see.
Once again we are confronted with the possibility that the Gary Johnson/Jim Gray ticket could be on the verge of an LP breakthrough.

But once again it has to be said that this will only occur if the campaign plots a strategy that is all at once focused, imaginative, and realistic, rather than engaging in the haphazard campaigning that has afflicted LP candidates in the past.


Eric Dondero said...

I think this might be a wee bit simplistic.

The Ron Paul voters are a different crowd from the Libertarian Party Gary Johnson voters.

I ran into a Ron Paulist the other day in downtown Houston. It was frightening. Like talking to a Zombie. All he could mouth was "the Fed... the Fed..."

They really do fit the stereotype of cultists. They're like Lyndon Larouchies of the right.

They'll stay home. But Zogby is right. Gary Johson will get a great chunk of the youth vote.

Chuck said...

Someone has apparently hacked your e-mail account.