Getting to fifteen percent in the polls with one percent of the media coverage the other two candidates take for granted is a herculean task. Despite the challenge, Gary Johnson has managed to make it to ten percent in the average of the five polls that the Commission on Presidential Debates will use to determine debate eligibility. Johnson has made it two thirds of the way there but pressure is mounting to let him in anyways. As Bernie Sanders says, the fifteen percent requirement for the Presidential debates is too high and Gary Johnson should be in them.
Separate polls taken over the past few weeks have asked voters whether or not they want Gary Johnson in the Presidential debates. The first poll, done by Quinnipiac, found that 62% want the Governor to be that third voice. It’s a non partisan issue. A later poll found that 48% of Republicans and 49% of Democrats want Gary Johnson on the stage. A more broadly worded poll by USA Today showed that 76% of voters want there to be a third podium this year. All of these numbers reflect a growing consensus in this country: two choices for President are not enough.
It appears that Bernie Sanders is a member of that majority as well. During a recent episode of Meet The Press, Chuck Todd decided to find out whether or not the independent Senator would dare take an anti-establishment tack. After his endorsement of Hillary Clinton it was unsure whether or not he was still allowed to have his own opinions. Bernie Sanders proved the naysayers wrong when asked if he thought Gary Johnson should be in the debates. Not only did Bernie Sanders say Gary Johnson should be in the Presidential debates, he also said that the fifteen percent polling threshold was too high.
Those two statements of support should bolster Gary Johnson’s chances of getting into the Presidential debates. They should also help the Governor absorb even more former Sander supporters into his base. Previous polls have already shown him taking as much as 23% of that voting bloc. With these words added on to that sentiment it’s even more likely that Gary Johnson will be in the Presidential debates after all. Hopefully more former 2016 Presidential candidates will join with Bernie Sanders in calling for debate inclusion.