Libertarian presidential nominee Gary Johnson has faded in the hearts and minds of American voters, according to recent polls.
After enjoying a record level of support for a third-party candidate for much of the summer and early fall, Johnson has plummeted to 5 percent in the HuffPost Pollster average of polls. That marks a 3-point drop since mid-October.
Individual surveys that previously found Johnson with support from 10 to 13 percent of voters show him capturing just 2 to 4 percent support in the final days before the election.
State polls also show a significant drop for Johnson in recent days.
The former New Mexico governor began receiving double-digit support in polls in early June. As his numbers remained steady, analysts began to assess the effect he could ultimately have on the election, especially in tight state races.
But Johnson’s impact no longer seems to be of much concern as he drops to the same level of support most third-party candidates see heading into Election Day.
Johnson’s unprecedented rise was partly inspired by a highly polarized presidential race. A relatively unknown alternative candidate can often be appealing to voters looking for somewhere else to turn when they dislike both candidates.
And that’s precisely what seems to have happened with Johnson. He entered the race relatively unknown, but, like most third-party candidates, his likability and vote share suffered as voters became more familiar with him.
Signs of Johnson’s decline began to show up after he was barred from participating in the presidential debates because he failed to meet the 15 percent polling threshold required to secure a spot.
His support was further dampened after a series of embarrassing gaffes in late September ― he asked what Aleppo is in one interview and failed to name one world leader he admires in another interview.
His unusual behavior became more apparent as he did more interviews. The admission by his vice presidential running mate that Hillary Clinton is a more qualified candidate probably didn’t help either.
As in past elections, it seems most third-party voters will ultimately bite the bullet and vote for one of the two major-party candidates or refuse to vote altogether.