Presidential Polls 2012: as Romney Closes the Gap in Ohio, Do Not Discount Gary Johnson


Though it appears as though Republican challenger Mitt Romney is gaining traction in the crucial battleground state of Ohio, ahead of this Tuesday's second presidential debate from Hofstra University in New York, the former governor of Massachusetts needs to look out not for one but for two foes who could narrow his path to the White House. 

Gary Johnson, the overlooked Libertarian Party nominee for president, who has been denied access to the presidential debates for polling below the 15% mark nationally, could be a "disaster in the works" for Romney as his surge in The Buckeye State could take votes away from the GOP candidate come November (no Republican has won the presidency without winning in Ohio).

That is why both the Obama and Romney teams are campaigning hard in The Buckeye State, where the Obama campaign will be stumping at Ohio State University in Columbus while Romney will hold a rally in Cuyahoga Falls, before the two men rematch at the CNN debate on Tuesday.

And though conventional wisdom points to an Obama edge if Johnson were to increase his presence in this election season, it's not set in stone that the libertarian candidate would take votes away exclusively from Mitt Romney. Obama supporters like to cite the 1992 election, when third party candidate Ross Perot was largely seen as costing George Bush Sr. reelection against challenger Bill Clinton, as an example of what could happen in 2012. But the scenarios are not identical, and undecided voters usually break against the incumbent candidate whether he or she is a Republican or a Democrat. 

Furthermore, in 1992 Bush senior was seen as not having delivered in the economy. Like Obama in 2012, incumbent Bush senior in 1992 relied on a strong foreign policy during his first term as he successfully completed the liberation of Kuwait from invader Iraq. Sounds familiar? It's like when Obama and Biden brag about having restored America's standing in the world while killing Osama Bin Laden.