Libertarian polls 7% in Michigan U.S. Senate race, clearing hurdle to debate participation

Press release from the Boman campaign:

Detroit, MI – If the election for US Senate were held today, Libertarian nominee, Scotty Boman, would get 7% of Michigan’s vote according to a state-wide scientific poll. The poll of nine hundred and seventy likely Michigan voters was conducted on October 5th and 6th by Gravis Marketing — a national, non-partisan research firm based in Florida.

It is the first general election poll of likely voters to include more than just the two, major party candidates as possible choices. With the Libertarian included as a third option, Democrat Stabenow polled 48.0% to Republican Hoekstra’s 39.3% with Boman favored by 7.0%. The remaining 5.7% were undecided or preferred another candidate.

In the same survey the Libertarian candidate was also offered as the alternative in two-candidate contests with each of the major party nominees. In those circumstances, Stabenow leads 49.0% to 29.6%, with 21.6% undecided. In a head-to-head matchup against Hoekstra the difference is even smaller with Boman garnering 22.5% to the Republican’s 41.0% and 36.5% undecided.

In a previous poll, conducted by public policy polling between February 10th and 12th, Boman, who was then considering a possible bid for the Republican nomination, received 6 % among likely Michigan Republican primary voters.

While the recent poll still places Boman in a distant third place, the results are significant because a political party whose “top-of-ticket” candidate receives at least 5% of the vote is treated like a major party. After Libertarian Jon Coon got 4.2% of the US Senate vote in 1994, Michigan changed the definition of “Major Party” to mean only the top two vote-getters. This change was only cosmetic. In all other respects, the 5% threshold places the qualifying party in the top tier of political parties, including participation in primaries. The top of ticket for the 2012 election would have been Libertarian Presidential nominee, Governor Gary Johnson, but Republican Secretary of State, Ruth Johnson, refused to place him on the ballot based on her interpretation of an obscure, never before invoked or enforced, provision of state election law.

A second reason the Libertarian candidate’s 7% showing is significant, is that polling at 5% or better is the one requirement for participation in the televised debates that has long eluded minor party candidates. In 2008, the host public television station WGVU specifically cited this criterion as cause for not including Boman in the Senatorial debate between Jack Hoogendyk and Carl Levin. Of course, this was a “Catch 22” for the Libertarian since no scientific state-wide, general election poll that year included him as a choice.

“Now that there is a credible, independent poll showing me above the threshold for participation [in the televised debate],” Boman mused, “it will be interesting to see what kind of creative excuse they will come up with to keep me out this time.”

4 thoughts on “Libertarian polls 7% in Michigan U.S. Senate race, clearing hurdle to debate participation


    It would be sweet irony if removing Johnson (not likely to do better than 2-4%) from the ballot allowed the Senate candidate getting 6-7% to be the “top of the ticket” and gain ballot access for the LP in Michigan. I seriously hate Michigan with a passion for this BS and personally plan to donate to Ruth Johnson’s opponent (whatever party) in any future election she participates in.

  2. paulie Post author

    personally plan to donate to Ruth Johnson’s opponent (whatever party) in any future election she participates in.

    Great idea!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *