The keys for Libertarian ticket mates Gary Johnson and former Massachusetts Gov. William F. Weld to launch a serious third party insurgency are the general voter dissatisfaction with the two flawed major-party nominees and scoring a coveted spot on the prime time debate stage, strategists say.
“This type of opportunity for a third party does not come around very often,” Republican Ford O’Connell told the Herald, citing Ross Perot’s 1992 White House bid as the last great third-party run. “I think their decent poll numbers have more to do with the frustration with Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump than liking Gary Johnson.”
The Johnson/Weld ticket is polling just shy of nine percent nationally, below the 15 percent threshold needed to earn a spot on the debate stage with Clinton and Trump. In a Quinnipiac poll this week, the Libertarians got 10 percent, but 62 percent of respondents said they wanted to see Johnson debate Trump and Clinton.
“They need to get on national TV and need to get into the debates because nobody knows who they are,” O’Connell said. “But for them to hit 15 percent ... it would have more to do with Clinton and Trump than Johnson and Weld.”