A third party’s options for winning the election are much different from those of the Republicans and Democrats. Those parties already have safe states built into their strategies and normally only compete for a handful of swing states. Although, with this year’s Presidential nominees there are quite a lot more states on the table due to their historically low unfavorable ratings. That helps Gary Johnson with his strategy of winning enough states to keep the other two from winning 270 electoral college votes. Gary Johnson is already polling at 16% in Alaska, Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah – and it’s only August.
It’s not just Donald Trump’s unpopularity that’s helping Gary Johnson though. With Hillary Clinton as their nominee, Democrats are just as likely to cross party lines and vote for the alternative candidate this year. Gary Johnson is polling just as strongly in blue states like Colorado and New Mexico as he is in red states like Alaska and Utah. Each of those four states has found the Libertarian Presidential nominee at 16% in polls taken recently. Those four states are also some of the campaign’s target states in the West that they’ve been going after.
These polls confirm that there is a way to keep both Trump and Clinton under 270. Trump faces an uphill battle to get to 270 according to all the polls and pundits and will likely receive less than the optimistic 250 shown in this map. The Democrats have a built in advantage in the electoral college but it’s still possible to keep Hillary just under the threshold. By taking blue states like Colorado and New Mexico out of Clinton’s column Johnson would keep her from passing 270.
That will throw the election to the House of Representatives to decide which of the top three finishers will be President. Gary Johnson can then make his case to Republican representatives that don’t like Trump and Democrat congressmen who can’t stand Clinton. After what is likely to be one of the most negative campaigns in history, the appeal of an independent compromise candidate cannot be undervalued.
Since it’s August there haven’t been too many other state polls done yet. It will likely be some time before pollsters begin looking at the rest of the states that the Johnson/Weld campaign is targeting like Maine, Vermont, Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, and the Dakotas. Although, with Gary Johnson upending the election this year that could happen sooner rather than later.