Libertarian presidential nominee Gary Johnson has been on a nonstop run of media interviews since his party's convention — rock-climbing with Samantha Bee, podcasting with Politico, and sitting down several times with The Washington Post. In almost every conversation, Johnson has hitched his fate to media polling. Averaging 15 percent in the polls will get him into the presidential debates; to get there, he can't afford being dropped from the poll questions themselves. And a new poll from Morning Consult gives him the numbers he needs to stay relevant.
The poll, conducted last week among 2,001 registered voters, found Johnson polling at 10 percent in a trial heat with Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, the presumptive major party nominees. Just 31 percent of voters could correctly identify Johnson as a "politician," but just 18 percent knew he was running for president, and just 17 percent knew that his particular experience in politics was "governor." Just 25 percent of voters viewed him favorably and 30 percent unfavorably, with the rest either ignorant or holding no opinion.
But Johnson's 10 percent support remained solid whether he was identified as an "independent" or a "Libertarian." (In some states, like Ohio, he may appear on the ballot with the former.) His base shifted slightly with the description. As "independent," Johnson won 10 percent of "liberal" voters and 10 percent of "conservative" voters. When identified as a Libertarian, Johnson won 14 percent of liberals and 8 percent of conservatives.
In the current RealClearPolitics average of national polls, Johnson is winning 8.5 percent of the vote in a three-way contest. In 2012, his first bid for the White House, Johnson never polled above 5 percent; he won 1 percent of the final vote.