By Matt Welch, Reason.com, June 17th, 2016:
The headline interest in the Libertarian Party’s prospects this November were tidily summed up by FiveThirtyEight three weeks ago: “Pay Attention To Libertarian Gary Johnson; He’s Pulling 10 Percent vs. Trump And Clinton.” That number has settled to about 9 percentnationwide since, but the basic set-up remains the same: Johnson is polling around four times higher than he was at this time in 2012, in a Black Swan political year featuring historically loathed and remarkably statist major-party candidates. It’s an unprecedented opportunity for limited-government politics and argument.
And those aren’t the only reasons for Libertarian (and libertarian) optimism lurking within these recent polls. Here are four more:
1) Pollsters are actually including Gary Johnson. Five of the seven national presidential election polls (as gathered by the ever-useful RealClearPolitics) since the Libertarian National Convention last month have also included Johnson. (He has averaged 10 percent in those.) The surveys that excluded Johnson, in case you want to send a candygram, were Rasmussen Reports and Economist/YouGov.
From the moment he sewed up the L.P. nomination, Johnson pivoted to one major message: include me in the polls. That’s not as straightforward as you might expect—before the major-party conventions in 2012, for example, Johnson was also included in a total of five national polls, but only across five months, not two weeks. (He averaged slightly less than five percent in those.)