Just as it helped pave the way in 2006 for the Democratic turnover in once-reliably red New Hampshire, the Free State movement is poised to leave its mark on national politics. Libertarian Gary Johnson is pulling a portion of six points, most of them anti-incumbent voters away from Mitt Romney according to a new poll by Suffolk University Political Research Center.
Six percent of New Hampshire voters said they remain undecided or plan to vote for Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson. By an almost 4-to-1 ratio, members of this small group who expressed a preference said they would vote for Romney over Obama, if those two candidates were the only ones on the ballot. If these “leaners” were included in the poll, Romney would lead Obama, 50 percent to 48 percent.
“Politics is full of ironies,” said David Paleologos, director of the Boston-based Suffolk polling agency. “Gary Johnson voters are predisposed to voting against the incumbent president, but Johnson’s presence on the New Hampshire presidential ballot is actually helping Obama. Those anti-incumbent voters — at least right now — aren’t finding their way to Mitt Romney.”
The 2010 GOP rout of NH Democrats was made possible in part by the libertarian strain that woke up in disgust at the Democratic agenda of taxes and spending proposed for the Granite State. It remains to be seen if the GOP can hold onto the gains made in 2010 given Obama’s relative strength in NH.
NH libertarians ought to consider this fellow traveler bolting for Romney.
The stakes are high!