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Libertarian candidate Johnson averaging more than 7 percent in polls

By David Lightman Tribune News Service

WASHINGTON – Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson is averaging more than 7 percent support in recent national polls, and if that holds he’d get the biggest vote of a third-party nominee in 20 years.

Johnson, a former governor of New Mexico, got 8 percent support in the USA Today/Suffolk University survey June 26-29. In other late June polls, he was at 8 percent in the Quinnipiac University survey, 5 percent in Reuters/Ipsos and 9 percent in IBD/TIPP. His average, compiled by RealClearPolitics, in a four-way race was 7.4 percent.

He appears to cut slightly into Democrat Hillary Clinton’s lead. She’s up 6 points in a head-to-head matchup with Republican Donald Trump. But when Johnson and Green Party candidate Jill Stein are included, that lead shrinks to 4.

Johnson was also the Libertarian nominee in 2012 and got 1 percent of the vote. The last third-party candidate to top 8 percent was Ross Perot in 1996. He got 8.4 percent and no electoral votes. Four years earlier he’d won 19 percent and no electoral votes.

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