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Gary Johnson May Win New Mexico, Which Would Keep both Trump and Clinton from Victory

Gary Johnson victory in NM is 'plausible,' and could force Electoral College deadlock


November 8, 2016

"Most of the time, Trump would be the beneficiary of a Clinton loss in New Mexico. But the model also assigns Johnson, the Libertarian Party's presidential nominee, an outside chance - 2 or 3 percent - of winning the state. That could lead to an Electoral College deadlock that looks like this"

Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson has a real shot at winning the State of New Mexico, where he was governor for 8 years. A poll released by the Albuquerque Jounal newspaper shows Johnson receiving 24 percent of the vote.

While this is below the 35% support given Democrat Hillary Clinton, and the 31% saying they will vote for Republican Donald Trump, it is within the realm of possibility that Johnson could pull enough support away from the major party candidates by Election Day to win the States 7 electoral votes.

The website and its analyst, Nate Silver, considers such a result plausible. Sunday, Silver tweeted that the new poll makes "plausible" a map that shows New Mexico going to Johnson on Election Day. This could deadlock the Electoral College between Clinton and Trump, who would receive 267 and 266 electoral votes respectively. Silver's map in fact show's that scenario. A total of 270 electoral votes are needed to clinch the election.

But, Silver cautioned, while it's possible, such a result is "not likely" because the FiveThirtyEight model gives Johnson only a 2 to 3 percent chance of winning New Mexico, and about a 0.2 percent change that causes a deadlock.

The poll of 501 likely New Mexico voters, conducted Sept. 27 to 29 by landline and cellphone, has a margin of error of 4.4 percentage points.

It's one of Johnson's best showings yet in any State. The poll boosts Johnson's argument that he his campaign has achieved the necessary 15% threshold necessary to take part in the two two remaining presidential debates.

The United States Electoral College is the institution that elects the President and Vice President of the United States every four years. Citizens of the United States do not directly elect the president or the vice president; instead they elect representatives called "electors", who usually pledge to vote for particular presidential and vice presidential candidates.

Wikimedia Commons

Electoral College map showing the results of the 2012 U.S. presidential election. President Barack Obama (D-IL) won the popular vote in 26 states and the District of Columbia (denoted in blue) to capture 332 electoral votes. Former Governor Mitt Romney (R-MA) won the popular vote in 24 states (denoted in red) to capture 206 electoral votes.

Electors are apportioned to each of the 50 states as well as to the District of Columbia (also known as Washington, D.C.). The number of electors in each state is equal to the number of members of Congress to which the state is entitled, while the Twenty-third Amendment grants the District of Columbia the same number of electors as the least populous state, currently three. Therefore, there are currently 538 electors, corresponding to the 435 Representatives and 100 Senators, plus the three additional electors from the District of Columbia. The Constitution bars any federal official, elected or appointed, from being an elector.

Except for Maine and Nebraska, all states have chosen electors on a "winner-take-all" basis since the 1880s. That is, each state has all of its electors pledged to the presidential candidate who wins the most votes in that state. Maine and Nebraska use the "congressional district method", selecting one elector within each congressional district by popular vote and selecting the remaining two electors by a statewide popular vote. Although no elector is required by federal law to honor a pledge, there have been very few occasions when an elector voted contrary to a pledge.

The Twelfth Amendment, in specifying how a president and vice president are elected, requires each elector to cast one vote for president and another vote for vice president.


Reader Comments(16)

Asd writes:

Stupid article. Mr. What is Aleppo? has literally zero chance to win NM. No idea what poll you're looking at. If you want to talk about a third party candidate that actually has a chance to win some electoral votes, you should have looked at Evan McMullin in Utah. None of that matters though, since a deadlock just sends the vote to the house, which has a Republican majority and would vote in Trump as POTUS.

Ivote4Gary writes:

OK everyone I respect your right to vote your conscience. It is my choice to vote who I fell will best lead our country. The former Republican Governors Gary Johnson and Bill Weld have my total support. It's not a vote for Trump nor is it a vote for Clinton, it is a vote for Someone who I trust to lead our Nation. So my vote is For our future, which will not improve with Clinton or Trump. If you have to say to yourself I have to choose the best of the two Evils. Then join me and vote Johnson -weld Nov 8. They are on the ballot in all 50 States

GlenF73 writes:

With McMullen taking Utah from trump in the latest polls there is already a possibility this will go up for vote. If Johnson takes NM then it is a sure thing. There is also the possibility that he might take more than one if the Ohio voter test election of 200,000 people is any indicator. (he beat trump and Hillary soundly.) They say it is a crazy year, the cubs got to the world series and the primaries were won by the candidates with favorability factors somewhere below that of an IRS audit. Why couldn't a Libertarian take the WH?

rcole82 writes:

Ah. I see Lone can't possibly speak for himself. Perhaps he lacks the (Hubris) to not clearly plagiarize a headline that many didn't see and seem clever. This partisan nonsense is the reason we have this problem to begin with. A sexual predator on the right, a treasonous villain on the left. Its no small wonder third party candidates tend to be a little off. Perhaps they are terrified you might not have the (hubris) to select someone of good moral conduct and character. Perhaps the desire for someone incompetent by the right has pushed for someone who has smoked away the last decade. Such nonsense overall... We created this storm of insanity. We created Trump. We created Clinton. We created Johnson. Jill..... I can't bring myself to blame anyone for that... Hippies maybe?

LoneHaranguer writes:

The former governor of New Mexico - who does not know the current president of Mexico, the country the borders his state and shares its name - wants to become the most important statesman in the world. What arrogance and hubris.

BlackShards writes:

I want to live in a country in which the coin flipped to choose between two terrible options stands on edge. At least in the House there is a *chance* of a decent outcome. Don't crush that hope!

fruitysudz writes:

I believe that Hillary will carry most of the big cities and Trump will carry most of the rural areas. I see this pretty much in PA where I live. Most of the rural areas have Trump signs in their yards like in a 9-1 ratio. There are a few more Hillary signs closer to the cities, though. Best thing for people to do is if you live in a state where a 3rd party candidate has a very good chance of winning that state, vote for them. Otherwise everyone else should vote for Trump, who has the best chance of taking delegates away from hillary and causing a deadlocked electoral college with no one reaching 270. that way congress could pick the POTUS.

Meme writes:

All these polls are made to make Hilary look good and just that. I have yet to see any clinton bumper stickers, signs, etc. It's all Trump and Johnson believe it or not. Now that being said I am in a free state and not a communist state like California or New York where I'm sure support for her is high because people in those states aren't known to be the brightest when it comes to voting. Hilary and on a ever so slightly scale Trump will do lots of harm to this country if either is elected. We are doomed unless Johnson wins a state and McMullen wins Utah.

heclem writes:

Interesting speculation. However, New Mexico only has five electoral college votes, not seven as reported in the article.

pjabbott writes:

You wrote an entire article about something that has a literal 0.2% chance of happening? Can you say click bait?

CFR writes:

I'm not sure where this map came from, but Hillary will win FL, and most likely a few other states you have going to Trump here. I would love to see Gary Johnson win New Mexico, but it still won't change the fact that Hillary will be our next president, unfortunately.

Tony0002 writes:

No Gary Johnson is nowhere near taking New Mexico. In Real Clear Politics the list of the four polls of New Mexico Johnson's best showing was second once and third the other three polls. You guys need to learn the difference between cheap melodrama and news.

jefferylmon writes:

TRUMP will win Florida, Virginia, Minnesota, and possibly Wisconsin. That makes a difference in this analysis. As momentum swings TRUMP in closing days (due to further evidence of Hillary's corrupt campaign) there is no way anyone can say she will have the electoral votes needed to win the election. Biased mainstream media personalities do not know everyday Americans who plan to vote for TRUMP because they cynically have not voted in the past feeling that our government is out-of-touch. This year, they are coming out in the thousands at rallies in every state in favor of the brash but inspiring Donald J. Trump.

JERALD writes:

MEDIA = 1984

Gail writes:

Hillary will be lucky to win one state. The rally attendance numbers tell the real tale, not manipulated polls. Polls also predicted Carter beating Reagan by a landslide. On election day, Reagan won 47 states while Carter won 3.

Nono writes:

What fairytale nonsense is this? Have you not looked at the polls for Florida, North Carolina, Iowa, and Ohio? Clinton leads in all. According to this map, all the democrats need is just one of these to win. It's fairly obvious Clinton is going to end up with over 350 electoral votes.


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