Excerpt: “Recent polling in the 2016 presidential race reveals a seemingly counterintuitive result: Donald Trump widens his lead when pollsters include Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson compared with a head-to-head matchup with Hillary Clinton.
“The result contradicts the conventional wisdom that a three-way race hurts Republican Trump more because of the supposedly large number of disaffected Republicans yearning for a third option — and because of a strong libertarian faction within the GOP. What’s more, Johnson and running mate William Weld are both former Republican governors.
“Libertarians, who are basking in unprecedented attention in an election season of historically unpopular major-party candidates, downplayed the significance of which major-party candidate has the most to gain from a three-way race.
“‘It’s practically even, and the difference is so slight that it’s not statistically significant,’ said Carla Howell, the party’s political director. ‘And it goes up and down.’
“Howell said Libertarians have much to offer members of both major parties — fiscal restraint and low taxes for Republicans, and social liberalism and military cuts for Democrats. Johnson supporters are turned off by both candidates, she said, adding that they have no confidence that Trump would rein in spending or stop overseas military intervention.
“‘And Clinton rates no better,” Howell said.
“‘They see Hillary Clinton as a war hawk and a crony capitalist,’ she said.”
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