You're probably going to be hearing a lot about our friend Gary Johnson and his decision to abandon the GOP for the Libertarian Party over the next couple of days, or at least until everyone goes back to forgetting that Gary Johnson and the Libertarian Party are things that exist.
But what you probably won't hear about that much is that according to a new survey from Public Policy Polling, a Libertarian Johnson will likely pull in less than 10 percent in a general election (which, to be fair, would actually pretty amazing for Gary Johnson and the Libertarian Party).
However — while no third party candidate has any genuine chance of winning anything other than a free ride for Barack Obama — there are some data points worth noting…
The strongest potential independent candidate we tested is Donald Trump who gets 19% in a three way contest with Obama at 45% and Romney at 31%. The folks who say they would support Trump go for Romney 71-10 in a straight up head to head with Obama. Donald Trump's ego could potentially prove to be Obama's greatest asset for reelection in 2012.
The independent candidate who gets the next largest amount of support is Ron Paul at 17%. Obama would get 42% and Romney 37% in that match up. Folks who would vote for Paul third party go for Romney by a 55-17 margin over Obama in their head to head, making them at least a slightly more politically diverse group than the Trump voters. Paul would achieve a near three way tie with independent voters, getting 27% to Obama's 32% and Romney's 31%.
The only other potential independent we tested who registers in double digits is Jon Huntsman at 11%. Obama gets 43% and Romney 37% in that three way contest. Although Huntsman has built up a reputation as the Republican Democrats love and is getting a huge chunk of his support in New Hampshire from Obama voters, he would still draw disproportionately from Romney in a three way contest. His voters go 63-15 for Romney over Obama in a head to head.
Personally, I'm still holding out for a Hugo Chávez candidacy. I know! It's totally unconstitutional, and there's absolutely no chance that it could ever happen in a million billion years. But it's in the realm of conceivable scenarios.
Unlike Gary Johnson and the Libertarian Party winning the White House.
Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images
Tags: Donald Trump, Gary Johnson, Jon Huntsman, Libertarian, Ron Paul, Third Party