Third party candidates face a narrow path to victory in a two party system. Given that the Commission on Presidential Debates has shut Gary Johnson out it’s unlikely he’ll get the national name recognition required to win enough states to get to 270 Electoral College votes. However, that does not mean the Governor can’t keep the other two candidates from doing so and create a tie that must be decided by the house. As we explained earlier this year, Gary Johnson could keep both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton from getting 270 Electoral College votes just by winning his home state. A recent poll just found the Governor at 24% in New Mexico – within striking distance of the lead.
The other two candidates were not far ahead. Hillary Clinton lead the field with 35% of the vote and Donald Trump was right behind her with 31%. Combined, the two only account for 66% of the vote in New Mexico which is approximately two thirds of the total. The remainder is taken by Gary Johnson at 24% and Jill Stein at 2% with 7% undecided. If the state’s former Governor was able to scoop up that undecided vote he would be tied with Trump for second place. Getting an extra few points and into the lead would be easy at that point.
Another interesting finding from this poll is that it confirms the Governor’s strong standing with independents. Gary Johnson won 42% of the independent vote in New Mexico leading Hillary Clinton by double digits. Clinton only registered 26% among independents and Trump only managed 14%. This strong showing mirrors similar results in other states and nationwide. The majority of the Governor’s support is coming from independents and millennials.
If Gary Johnson is able to gain a few more points, and take more support from Clinton and Trump voters, winning his home state is a real possibility. If the rest of the electoral college map falls into place, that could be enough to keep the other two from winning the Presidency. It’s an unlikely scenario, but for this political year, it wouldn’t be the craziest thing that’s happened.