Can Gary Johnson Take Crucial Urban Votes From Hillary?

Looking at the internals of the new CNN poll, we can find some interesting information albeit with a high margin of error. As noted elsewhere, Johnson gets to 15% in the midwestern states, but I was interested that the graphic only showed 55% support for Hillary Clinton in the urban category with Johnson included. Looking back, Obama only got 60% of the urban category in 2012 so maybe that figure wasn’t that important. Nevertheless, it caused me to look a bit deeper into the differences between 2012 and 2016, and then at 2016 with and without Johnson.

First of all compared to Romney in August, Trump is down in nearly every demographic with some exceptions with which we should all be familiar. Trump has gained with both non-college grads (46-40) and with those making less that $50K (45-38) when compared to Romney. It should be noted that Trump still loses in those demographics to Hillary, 49-46 and 50-45 respectively. And surprising to those who believe the mainstream media and the leftist memes on Facebook, the white vote in 2016 is identical to that in 2012 which makes Trump no more or less racist than that rapscallion Mitt Romney. The suburban area has also seen a  pro-Trump shift where Obama was beating Romney 52-45 in 2012, and today Trump beats Hillary 48-46. This is completely offset, however, by the urban vote which has seen a 7-point swing in favor of Hillary compared to 2012, as Hillary currently crushes Trump 67-30.

Enter Gary Johnson into the race. It has been frustratingly obvious to conservatives that Johnson has been reaching out to Sanders supporters more so than to Cruz supporters, and the CNN poll reflects that reality. Independents tend to move toward Johnson, but he takes 8 points from Trump while taking 13 from Hillary. Johnson also takes 7 point from Trump in supporters under 50, but takes 15 points worth of those voters from Hillary. And lastly, Hillary loses 12 points to Trump’s 3 points with urban voters.

When I think of potential swing states with a high urban vote, I draw a line through Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Detroit, and Milwaukee. If Hillary Clinton cant’ win those states, I don’t see how she wins the presidency. Being from Ohio, I have always had a bias in favor of a Great Lakes strategy for Republicans. George Bush was able to get away with winning just Indiana and Ohio, but there have been GOP senators and governors in each of the Great Lakes states since Obama took office. These states cannot just be ceded to the Democrats every presidential election year!

Gary Johnson still has a lot of work to do, the first being to get to 15% nationally. Once he’s achieved that, he really needs to up the bar again and hit 30% and then start actually leading in some state polls. If Gary Johnson can’t win a state, then what’s the point? Ross Perot could have given the election to Bill Clinton, and Johnson needs to be careful not to give it to Hillary. And full disclosure, I’ve told people that barring a Johnson miracle, I’m voting for Trump. But that’s another story.

Gary Johnson as a viable alternative to the two-party system is a natural fit with the independents, moderates, and the under 50 crowd. He’s also made inroads into the liberal wing of the electorate. I’ve heard some Gary Johnson ads running on WTAM in Cleveland during Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh, so he realizes that he needs to attract disaffected conservatives as well. He has work to do, but if it looks like Gary Johnson might win my state, I’ll have to give him serious consideration.