A new poll from North Carolina-based Democratic pollster Public Policy Polling has Gary Johnson at 8%. From Tom Jensen:
In addition to looking at a straight head to head between Obama and Romney, PPP also tested a three way contest with the two of them and Gary Johnson running as a Libertarian. In that scenario Obama’s lead over Romney expands to 4 points at 45-41, with Johnson taking 8% of the vote. Johnson takes 9% of the Republican vote compared to only 4% of Democrats and his presence results in Romney’s advantage with independents being cut in half from 20 points to only 10.
I doubt Gary Johnson will end up getting 8% of the vote in North Carolina come this fall. But the numbers do show that Republican voters are more likely to seek out a third party option than Democrats are, and that could really make a difference in a closely divided state whose outcome doesn’t seem likely to be decided by more than 2 or 3 points either way.
Full results here. In 2008 Libertarian nominee Bob Barr received 0.6% in the polls, one of his stronger states that year. Barr visited the state several times in that campaign, and had polled as high as 6% in another PPP poll from 2008. Minor party candidates tend to under-perform results from polls when election day arrives.
The Libertarian Party of North Carolina has been one of the stronger state affiliates in recent years. In 2010 radio host Mike Beitler polled as high as 10% in his race for US Senate, although he has since joined the Republican Party and is running for Secretary of State in North Carolina. In 2008 its candidates for Governor and Senate, Michael Munger and Chris Cole, polled at 6% two months before election day. Munger, a former chair of the Political Science department of Duke University, is speculated to run again in 2012.