- Posted June 15, 2012 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Election 2012: Your stories
Is Gary Johnson This Year's Ralph Nader?
A lot of the polls we've been seeing lately pit Romney against Obama, but don't factor Johnson in. Johnson probably won't win a single electoral vote, but his popularity in his home state and other states with libertarian inclinations shouldn't be underestimated.
First, let's look at New Mexico, where he served two terms as governor. Early polling from Public Policy shows him at 15%. It's quite likely that he will syphon a significant number of votes away from Romney and deliver the Land of Enchantment to Obama.
While he probably won't take more than five or six percent of the vote elsewhere, even that will be enough to create some spoilers. In New Hampshire and Wisconsin, any defection from the Tea Party to the Libertarian camp will cost Romney dearly. And it's not unlikely that a few Tea Partiers disenchanted with the Republican Party will give Johnson serious consideration.
Two other states to look at are Montana and North Dakota. Each has only three electoral votes, but in a tight race, small victories matter. Johnson could easily push either state from the "Republican Leaning" category into "Toss Up" territory.
What can Romney do to prevent this scenario? Not much. If Romney taps a Tea Party candidate for vice president or makes serious overtures to the Tea Party, he risks alienating a large swath of independent voters. There is also the risk that Tea Partiers would see such a move as mere political maneuvering. This leaves Romney between a rock and a hard place. It's up to team Romney to convince Tea Partiers and libertarian-leaning Republicans, that a vote for Gary Johnson is a wasted a vote and that a Romney presidency would be significantly different than a second term for Obama.