Only a month has passed since the 2016 Presidential election and libertarians are already looking forward to the next one. We decided to take a poll in the weeks after the election to see who the early favorite might be and it didn’t yield much of a surprise. Libertarians want Rand Paul to run against Donald Trump in 2020 as the Libertarian Party Presidential nominee. This shouldn’t come as much of a surprise given Rand Paul’s popularity among libertarians following his career in the Senate and brief Presidential run earlier this year. Where the rest of the field fell that followed in Paul’s wake is where it really gets interesting.
We included twelve candidates in our first 2020 Libertarian Party Presidential poll which likely contributed to the fairly spread out results. Nonetheless, Rand Paul managed to earn 32.7% of the vote for a clear first place finish. Having nearly one in three libertarians support is quite an accomplishment. Nipping at his heels was the runner up in the 2016 Libertarian Party Presidential nomination race Austin Petersen with 27%. While it might seem like Petersen’s support is overstated, he did come in second in the 2016 Presidential primary with 21% of the vote at the national convention. It is a bit high, but not by much.
Following the top two is none other than the Libertarian Party’s two-time Presidential nominee Governor Gary Johnson who earned 10.2% of the vote. His 2016 running mate, Governor Bill Weld came in just behind him with 8.7% of the vote. Gary Johnson has repeatedly stated that he does not want to run for President again in four years and it looks like his fans have listened. It appears that in addition to Johnson’s support shifting towards Rand Paul, it was also split with his Vice Presidential pick. While Gary Johnson supporters have listened, they haven’t exactly shifted to a more likely nominee.
Those four candidates collectively earned 78.6% of the vote. Following them is a series of eight candidates who on average only earned about two and a half percent of the vote. That said, there were a couple standouts in the second tier. Another 2016 Vice Presidential candidate, Larry Sharpe, managed 6.1% of the vote mirroring his slight loss to Bill Weld at the national convention. After him followed one of the few candidates we included who wasn’t a Presidential or Vice Presidential candidate this year. That candidate was Justin Amash, who came in sixth with 4.9%.
Another man who didn’t run, despite flirting with the idea on numerous occasions, was Governor Jesse Ventura. He managed to win 3.6% for seventh place just edging out John McAfee who placed eighth with 3.3%. It’s impressive that Ventura was able to beat McAfee. The former Libertarian Presidential candidate placed third at the convention this year with 14% of the delegates. Adam Kokesh was only one other candidate who managed to get above 1% in this poll. Following him was NOTA at 0.8%, Darryl W. Perry at 0.8%, Kevin McCormick at 0.3%, and last but not least Patrick Byrne at 0.2%.
We’ll take another 2020 Libertarian Party Presidential primary poll every quarter from until the year itself. Hopefully it will continue to add insight as to where libertarians support lies.