Gary Johnson v. Ed Clark, Who Will Win?

In an article published at newmexico.watchdog.org titled “What constitutes success for Gary Johnson’s presidential bid?” by Rob Nikolewski published earlier today (October 31, 2012), Governor Johnson is quoted as saying:

“I’d hate to set an expectation. . . . I should hope we’ll surpass the previous Libertarian Party showing in a presidential election. . . . From all the polling, I think we’ll beat that [1.1 percent Ed Clark showing]. Do we get to 5 percent? We’ll see.”

The entire article is available HERE

48 thoughts on “Gary Johnson v. Ed Clark, Who Will Win?

  1. Steve M

    I had the pleasure of meeting Ed Clark at a California Libertarian Dinner. As sharp an individual to trade barbs with as one could want to dine with. I am sure that Ed would be happy with Gary gathering a higher percentage of votes. I know I will be. I hope to attend another dinner with Ed Clark….

    Thanks

  2. Jared King

    I don’t expect Johnson/Gray to hit 5% I’m sad to say. If they start the 2016 as soon as this one’s done, we’ll see next time.

    As for beating Ed Clark/David Koch, I would consider the campaign a disappointment if they failed to do better in either the vote totals or percentage. Not Bob Barr/Wayne Root bad, but disappointing.

    I’m thinking, 2 to 3%.

  3. Joe Buchman

    It saddens me that an aching desire for Liberty, the flaming heart that yearns to LIVE FREE does not burn at the core soul of every American — much less of everyone on the planet.

    That, if anything, is the failing of this election. The campaign has, IMO, the best ideas, the best two candidates, the hardest working volunteers, the most efficient (per dollar invested) staff and media buys, etc, etc.

    What’s missing is the desire for freedom, self-agency and ownership . . . nay, not the desire for that but the DEMAND for it from every corner of the nation.

    Instead I see desires/demands for free Obama phones, free education, free transportation, free housing, free medical care . . .

    That’ll be highlighted Monday in the debate between Gary Johnson and Jill Stein; as well as on Sunday in the debate moderated by Ralph Nader. And the major media? Total blackout.

    Once the land of the free and the brave — today the land of the bailed-out, in-debt and terrorized by the TSA, IRS, spy drones, NDAA and (horribly misnamed) “Patriot Act.”

    And only 1 percent or so will vote to end that? Really?!?

    I’m with the 1 percent. For the 99 percent that want more slavery — well . . . (expletive deleted) you.

  4. Root's Teeth Are Awesome

    Joe Buchman: It saddens me that an aching desire for Liberty, the flaming heart that yearns to LIVE FREE does not burn at the core soul of every American — much less of everyone on the planet.

    Most people want freedom. However, people differ as to how they define freedom.

    Many people would say that freedom is worthless without security. Thus, among the freedoms they want is freedom from hunger, freedom from homelessness, and freedom from an inability to pay for their kids’ education or health care.

    Many people think that the security that comes from a generous social safety net, and strong police, fire, and military protection, enhance their freedoms — that you can’t enjoy freedom if you’re starving or unable to pay for medical care.

    Many people don’t believe that a pure free market can guarantee them this security.

    Even many conservatives, who love the rhetoric of freedom, want to “save” social security and medicare, and want a national security state and all-powerful military.

  5. Thomas L. Knapp

    My prediction is that Johnson will poll in the neighborhood of 700k votes, but I hope I’m wrong and he blows past Clark in both raw and percentage totals.

  6. Austin Cassidy

    I found it interesting they focused on campaign events in Wyoming, Idaho and Montana during the final week of the election.

    Clearly those visits were meant to improve his single state showings on a percentage basis and not to goose his national popular vote total. I hope it works.

  7. MN Indy

    I really hope Johnson/Gray beats the Clark numbers, but it’s going to be very difficult. The media has managed to once again hype this up as a “close” race, where one dare not waste their vote. Ignorance is on the side of the two parties once again, since very few Americans realize the spoiler argument falls flat in most states.

    Votes for Romney-Obama only count in swing states. Sadly, few people will realize this in time, and third party numbers will suffer. I’m hoping Johnson tops 1%, and it will be a miracle if he gets that extra .1% to top Clark.

  8. Robert Capozzi

    It IS, however, easy to explain to voters in solid red or blue states that they should be free to vote their conscience. Especially in coastal blue states, where those who vote R but are NOT social conservatives, these are the single biggest prospective L voters, or at least GJ voters.

    Were I a GJ strategist, it would have been the focus throughout the race. I think Team GJ has run a great campaign, but it’s not been obvious to me that they’ve been casting the net wider than the L voters and RP voters. Perhaps there simply wasn’t budget to go any wider than they have.

  9. Trent Hill

    I would’ve expected the Johnson campaign to focus on the only-choice states. i.e., those states where Johnson is the only presidential choice on the ballot–Georgia, Indiana, North Carolina (and perhaps some where choices are narrowed, like California and Texas). These are big population states.

  10. Stewart Flood

    Joe@4,

    Well said!

    I would add that where the message has been heard and LISTENED TO, this campaign has influenced voters.

    I certainly hope that the vote totals next Tuesday evening are a credit to the excellent work that the candidates and volunteers like you have done over the past six months.

  11. George Whitfield

    Abot a month ago I did a calculation based on where Bob Barr’s polling numbers were versus where Gary Johnson’s polling numbers were and then figured what Johnson would receive on election day if his results dropped at the same percentage as Barr’s. As I recall, the outcome was that Johnson would receive 1.08% of the popular vote and barely set a new record over Ed Clark’s 1.06%. As I recall Johnson’s popular vote would be about 1,450,000. I hope this occurs. Lets all do what we can to make it happen.

  12. Shawn Levasseur

    On a side note:
    At the articles website, the sidebar has a graphic attached to a link to an article “Monuments to Me” that looks a lot like a certain “son of a butcher”. Coincidence , I’m sure. But, funny.

  13. Cyric Renner

    I was shocked to see how few votes Barr/Root received in 2008. As the old saying goes “It is not who you vote for that counts, but rather who counts them”.

    It seems to me that the Johnson campaign has been gaining momentum in the last few weeks, not running out of steam the way 3rd party campaigns typically do.

    I wish more people would donate. $2.3 million, compared to $ 2 Billion+ for Obama/Romney is not going to cut it.

  14. ATBAFT

    Anything less than 1 million votes and the LP needs to radically de-emphasize presidential campaigns in favor of building a more widespread, active and
    viable grassroots organization. We will never break through in fundraising, votes, or membership/party registrations until most every voter is aware of the LP in their locality and the cumulative total of votes cast for the LP in state and local races is in the tens of millions.

  15. Q2Q

    Johnson will not outpoll the Clarke-Koch ticket. Clarke has an engaging personality, is a great orator, and he had a billionaire running-mate. Johnson, let be honest here, is arrognant and boring, and he doesn’t have deep pockets. I’m going to predict between .7% to .99% of the vote.

  16. Kyle Kneale

    Right now I’m thinking about .75% (about 950k). Optimistic: I can see GJ getting 1.25%, pessimistic: .60%

  17. Michael H. Wilson

    From my perspective one part of the problem is with the LNC which has spent more time bickering than preparing for campaigns in the last ten years.

  18. George Phillies

    Half a percent, give or take, seems a reasonable guess. Perhaps there will be some advance in states in which Goldwater conservatism rather than Christian Nationalism is the Republican core.

  19. Shane

    I agree with Knapp. Johnson should knock Barr out of the #2 slot for popular votes but will not break through Clark’s performance or the million vote mark.

    The baseline for a Libertarian candidate with good ballot access is 400k.

    Johnson has one significant factor helping him this year — Nader isn’t running. Nader was on 45 states plus D.C. and obtained 738k votes in 2008.

    The second strongest third-party candidate this year is Stein who will perform slightly better than McKinney and should put the Green Party above the Constitution Party this year — but it’s unlikely she’ll break 250k votes.

    Johnson, in the absence of Nader, will pick up many “protest votes” for those motivated enough to do so this year.

    With that said, Johnson also has a significant factor working against him this year — a close race. Voters are less likely to cast votes outside of the R&D parties in a close contest.

    The LP’s big question after the election will be “what now?”

    Johnson was a candidate who had appeared in the RNC debates, had some name ID and was the standard bearer many in the LP was looking for. What was the impact of the race?

    Will it generate enough new donors to put a Libertarian in federal office in 2014?

  20. Jake

    I thought the GJ campaign has done an excellent job, and I’m excited that they’ve spent some time in state where I believe the libertarian message will work. They’ve also focused on states that have historically voted for 3rd party candidates in the past such as Alaska.

    The five states that I am curious to see how they do are Minnesota (due to Ventura’s endorsement and campaigning for GJ), New Mexico (homestate), Alaska (they spent time there), Montana, and Colorado (due to the ballot initiative there).

    My only question with the campaign and my only surprise is that they didn’t spend more time in the Northeast. I feel the independent spirit of GJ would have worked well in Maine due to King’s campaign, the college students would really like him in Massachusetts, and that he could have focused a few days in places like upstate NY, Burlington, VT, and also Rhode Island.

    Anyway, I see GJ barely missing a million votes. I think Jill Stein will do much better than McKinney did.

  21. Thomas L. Knapp

    RC @ 10,

    “It IS, however, easy to explain to voters in solid red or blue states that they should be free to vote their conscience. ”

    Well, it’s easy to explain … but not necessarily easy to get that explanation through the voters’ heads.

    Over the last three cycles — since the 2000 Florida fiasco — reportage has focused more on “swing states,” so hopefully the understanding that a vote in Texas or California isn’t as decisive as one in Florida or Ohio is starting to seep into skulls. But I doubt that it’s really thoroughly there yet.

  22. zapper

    This is my prediction from the October Open Thread which preceeded the creation of this thread and is the same as I predicted last summer:

    zapper // Oct 31, 2012 at 11:26 am

    … Johnson will come in with better raw vote totals than Ed Clark but a lower percentage.

    Johnson should set a new high water mark for total votes for an LP POTUS candidate in about 40 states – not MI and OK, obviously, and not AK.

    Johnson will set a new high water mark for the % of the vote in a handful of states, but nationwide he will be close, but somewhat below, Clark 1980.

    In short, Johnson will be the LP’s second best ever.

    Despite being a two term governor, his resume and his incredible effort, it is the lack of any sophisticated TV advertising campaign that held him back.

  23. Joe

    Stewart @12,

    Thanks.

    I need to finish Evan book “2” — Evan is the TV ad guru Gary credits with generating his win as Governor, and the guy behind our two latest 30 second ads, and most (if not all) of the other video on our website.

    THEN I’ll have plenty of time for the full hooded key-holder series I was looking forward to reading . . .

  24. Kevin Knedler

    It will be a record vote in Ohio for GJ.
    Potential to be more votes than all of the previous LP POTUS candidates we had in the past 40 years combined– in Ohio. 150,000 or more votes in Ohio is a minimum prediction.

  25. Wes Wagner

    KK @27

    Hope you are right on your buckeye predictions. As a former buckeye I will be watching and that will be a might nice feather in all of your caps over there if you pull it off.

  26. Robert Capozzi

    24 tk, yes, the “swing state” thing is BECOMING understood. I’ve tested my hypothesis anecdotally here in NY with R voters who KNOW that Romney will lose here. These are generally not especially political people and in my sample not especially “sophisticated” thinkers. It takes SOME work, but frankly not much.

    The narrative goes something like: “You KNOW Romney will lose NY, why not check out Gary Johnson, a former 2-term R guv in NM. You may agree with him MORE than Romney.”

    This is not to say that, say, the 45% of voters in NY would vote GJ and get him, what, 5MM votes in NY. OTOH, was 500K possible in places like NY, or CA? Artfully done…maybe.

  27. Melty

    Swing state talk and the like is all entirely irrelevant. In a presidential election there is no such thing as the deciding ballot. Vote your conscience. There’s no other reason to vote in a presidential election.

  28. Kleptocracy And You

    @24 Sounds like Knapp you are ready to tell it like it is – > The mushroom MASSES are truly ASSES !!!

    I live in a solid R state by from 400k to half a mil votes each cycle. I made about a 50-60 mile round trip placing Johnson signs (I had over 100 to place) and by the time I got back around toward home the signs had been pulled up and taken. A few days later Romney signs appeared close to where I had placed the Johnson signs.

    Let me be perfectly clear, anyone who removes a political sign because they oppose that candidate is anti-free speech and a scumbag COMMIE/FASCIST. They may wrap their sorry ass in the U.S. flag and attend Sunday School each week but they are no better than the commies they have claimed for enemies their entire lives!

    Does it piss me off to have signs pulled down. You durn tooting! Already out spent over a Billion to a million and an almost total blackout by the LACKEY LameStream media. Road/yard signs is one small way to get Johnson’s name out before the public, then an Obama or Romney supporters pulls the Johnson signs down in a state where if 399,000 ’08 R voters did decide to vote for Johnson Romney would still win. And it’s the same way in D states. Needless to say if I had caught them in the act they would have had their ass full of birdshot. I’m normally a non-violent guy, but this practice isn’t cool in the least !!!

    “What’s *just* has been debated for centuries but let me offer you my definition of social justice: I keep what I earn and you keep what you earn. Do you disagree? Well then tell me how much of what I earn *belongs* to you – and why? “– Walter Williams

    RT Presents Final US Presidential Debate Nov.5 – http://freeandequal.org/updates/rt-presents-final-us-presidential-debate/

    As for this threads question, with the Masses continued mushroom status (kept in the dark and fed manure daily) I sadly doubt Johnson can do it. The media lies about a deadheat possible and it isn’t (they called it close in ’08 and Obama won by about 9,500,000 votes in a BLOWOUT) they do this SO they can keep the ASSES from voting for an Alternative candidate.

    “We are grateful to the Washington Post, the New York Times, Time magazine and other great publications whose directors have attended our meetings and respected the promises of discretion for almost forty years. It would have been impossible for us to develop our plan for the world if we had been subject to the bright lights of publicity during those years. But, the world is now more sophisticated and prepared to march towards a world-government. The supranational sovereignty of an intellectual elite and world bankers is surely preferable to the National auto-determination practiced in past centuries.” – David Rockefeller

    “For more than a century, ideological extremists at either end of the political spectrum have seized upon well-publicized incidents to attack the Rockefeller family for the inordinate influence they claim we wield over American political and economic institutions. Some even believe we are part of a secret cabal working against the best interests of the United States, characterizing my family and me as ‘internationalists’ and of conspiring with others around the world to build a more integrated global political and economic structure – one world, if you will. If that is the charge, I stand guilty, and I am proud of it.” – David Rockefeller …in his memoirs…

    Know your true enemy, it’s the root which must be struck…..

  29. John C Jackson

    I think Johnson might do better than the 0.4% we are used to. He will not get 1% or 1 million votes. I think he will slightly more than 0.5% and whatever raw vote totals go with that. I’ll say 0.54%

  30. fred

    Maybe we should start working on our marketing message to determine what resonates with the voters. We know that, when polled, the plurality of voters fall into the libertarian quadrant on the political spectrum (based on the Nolan chart) yet our candidates receive a very small percentage of the vote.
    We tend to campaign on issues and slogans that are meaningful to us (the small percentage that already votes for our candidates) and we miss the parts that appeal to others.
    I’m not suggesting we change our values–I am suggesting we do some market research to determine how to best present our values.

  31. zapper

    @33

    The problem isn’t Libertarian principles which are supported by the second largest if not the largest block of voters.

    The problem isn’t how we present our message – although some candidates are far more effective than others in messaging. And yes, we do want to have an effective message and present the issues that are of interest to the voters and germane to the election.

    The problem isn’t that the media doesn’t cover us, although they don’t and it isn’t fair. The media will give us more free coverage than we can handle, if we earn it – And they wish we would earn some coverage because they long for anything new they can cover.

    Why?

    1) We don’t do the work: the party building between elections, increasing our size and fundraising, and

    2) We don’t ever present our message. We waste our limited resources and then complain we have nothing left for advertising. We need to dedicate at least one third of all fundraising to advertising from the getgo.

    3) We don’t have a sophisticated electoral and media plan designed to take advantage of the current electoral system and earn media coverage.

    The problem is that, to date, we have not had the right program in place nor the right leadership to adopt the progam we need.

    As an example of what could be, we can look at Ohio this election. While they have still failed on point 2, no advertising, they have undertaken a dedicated, effective party building program. We should take a close look at the results after this year’s votes are all in, comparing the 2008 and 2012 votes state by state for changes and why.

  32. Thane Eichenauer

    @34
    “The problem isn’t Libertarian principles which are supported by the second largest if not the largest block of voters.”

    I disagree. If more than 33% of Americans really supported Libertarian principles (in their hearts and minds) then I hardly think that the US government would be drone bombing people in other countries (without a declaration of war) nor would city and state governments be arresting and imprisoning hundreds of thousands of people for drug offenses.

    I think most Americans are averse to Libertarian principles because they have either consciously or unconsciously accepted the premise that selfishness is bad and that altruism is good.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=As2aLKI4QOM (Yaron Brook on his recent book on the topic)

  33. Robert Capozzi

    There are a lot of reasons why L principles are not more widely accepted and put into practice. The unifying, underlying reason, though, has nothing to do with “selfishness” or “altruism,” near as I can tell.

    Instead, the reason is that people are afraid. Fearful people are easily manipulated.

  34. Robert Capozzi

    more….

    So, if that’s truish, then the case for practical L-ism grows. Advocate pie-in-the-sky constructs and the fearful remain afraid. Advocate workable L solutions, and the fearful might listen more closely.

  35. John C Jackson

    For as long as I can remember, Libertarians have been talking about getting the “message” out there and being more persuasive. Some have even become professional Libertarian “persuasive speakers” and “trainers.” And nothing has changed.

    The electoral system prevents any third parties from doing much. A well-funded billionaire who can buy into debates ( even that’s even possible with the Rep/Dem ownership) and the conversation has a chance to make a temporary mark a la H. Ross Perot. That’s about it.

    For an alternative party itself to do much downballot, it would require either a complete “reform”/change of the system or replacing one of the “2 Parties.”

    We have “2 Parties”. That’s it and that’s all it ever will be to 95% of voters. So either we need some sort of proportional representation system or the LP/Greens/CP/Whatever will have to replace either the Republican or Democratic parties as one of the “2 parties.”

    No matter what you do, you can’t change the facts of reality. We have a 2 party system. It’s the system.

    If you have a plan for overthrowing one of the 2 parties let me know.

  36. Zapper

    @35 American voters can be separated into a minimum of 5 distinctive ideological groups, not 3, not including those who vote based on feelings and personal characteristics such as height, handsomeness etc.

    @38 Yes, a plan for overthrowing one of the parties is exactly what I’ve been discussing here for a long time. We first build a viable third party state by state, by working up to second place in small states currently dominated only one of the two major parties. Then we generate a realignment of the coalitions, replacing one of the two parties.

    We have to begin with advertising in targeted small states where we can currently afford to make ourselves a competitive number two.

    We must also work to build stand-alone single county groups in every county in every state, focusing on outreach, membership growth, organization and party building everywhere.

    I’ve said all this before, so I won’t repeat all the detail that’s in other threads.

  37. Executive Detractor

    Zapper, why don’t you do what your are saying needs to be done? If someone were to hire you to implement your plan, which state would you pick, and how would you get started? What budget would you need to get started? Can you raise enough funds yourself or would someone else have to raise it all and give it to you? Would your plan work faster than the Double the LP plan?

  38. Captain Obvious

    advertising in targeted small states where we can currently afford to make ourselves a competitive number two

    I.e. the same states where the incumbent parties can currently afford to keep us from becoming a competitive number two.

    In politics as in any other game, it helps to model the opponents’ moves more than one ply deep.

  39. paulie

    I’ve talked to Zapper about this, and Zapper is really too slammed with work to do this.

    However, I would.

    I would start with states that have low ad rates – Alaska, Wyoming, Vermont, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Maine, New Mexico, Dakotas, Montana, Idaho and maybe a few others. Most of these states are heavily dominated by one party and/or have a stronger than average tradition of independent and alt party voting, and/or better than average LP results in the past.

    I would need about $1,000 per week to do it full time, less to do it part time. I would want 90% to go to ads, so I would need to raise about ten times as much to make it viable. I think I would get started placing ads when we hit the first 50k in donations.

    I could try raising it myself, although I would like to have help.

    I don’t know how well it would succeed, but I would be willing to try.

  40. Zapper

    @40 & 42

    Paulie’s ideas seem to mesh very well with my own. He’s correct that I’m working about 80 hours per week. I’d have to change careers and move to work directly in the field on this project. However, I’d like to be involved in the media planning and fundraising. I could also contribute a decent sized monthly amount as part of a sponsoring group.

    Is anyone (besides Paulie) on the LNC listening?

    The LNC has been urged to begin dedicated project funding of some kind where donors could direct their funds to specific targeted projects such as this one: media, party building, outreach whatever you want to call it, we need it.

    The Johnson campaign was urged to do the same thing – a targeted TV campaign. They opted to wait for enough money to come in instead – It never did – And they had no TV campaign.

    If you wait for money to come in, it never comes. You have to go out and get it. You have to budget for the most important things first, not last.

    A less desirable, but viable alternative is to start a new PAC for this purpose. A PAC could raise more from a single motivated donor, but I’m not sure if a PAC could legally do everything we need to be doing to build the party directly. Have to find out the rules.

    Wish the LNC would wake up.

  41. Andy

    Zapper said: “The Johnson campaign was urged to do the same thing – a targeted TV campaign. They opted to wait for enough money to come in instead – It never did – And they had no TV campaign.

    If you wait for money to come in, it never comes. You have to go out and get it. You have to budget for the most important things first, not last.”

    Yeah, I think that this was a mistake. If the campaign had run a TV advertisement on some network, anywhere in the USA, it would have been a good tool to get people to donate more money. They could have said something like, “Did you like this ad? Do you want to see it continue to run on television? Do you want to see more ads like it on television? Then please donate today.”

    I remember that the Michael Badnarik for Congress campaign made this same mistake back in 2006.

  42. paulie

    Yeah, I think that this was a mistake. If the campaign had run a TV advertisement on some network, anywhere in the USA, it would have been a good tool to get people to donate more money. They could have said something like, “Did you like this ad? Do you want to see it continue to run on television? Do you want to see more ads like it on television? Then please donate today.”

    I remember that the Michael Badnarik for Congress campaign made this same mistake back in 2006.

    Agreed.

  43. paulie

    Is anyone (besides Paulie) on the LNC listening?

    Hard to say. Many of them don’t speak up.

    The LNC has been urged to begin dedicated project funding of some kind where donors could direct their funds to specific targeted projects such as this one: media, party building, outreach whatever you want to call it, we need it.

    The Johnson campaign was urged to do the same thing – a targeted TV campaign. They opted to wait for enough money to come in instead – It never did – And they had no TV campaign.

    If you wait for money to come in, it never comes. You have to go out and get it. You have to budget for the most important things first, not last.

    Exactly!

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