Are they competing for the same youth vote?
At an appearance at the University of New Mexico this month [see video above], Johnson made the case for why voting for him is not a wasted vote:
“You have to hear it every single day, ‘Wasted vote!’ Why are you going to waste your vote?’ What is more of a wasted vote than voting for somebody you don’t believe in? We vote for the person that we most believe in, and that’s how we change things in America.”
In Colorado, Johnson’s appearances at colleges and universities may be doing more to eat in Barack Obama’s support than Romney’s. This morning’s Longmont Times-Call notes this evening’s visit by Johnson to the CU Boulder campus, and links his support there to his support for marijuana legalization:
“Traditionally, libertarians such as Johnson tend to draw votes away from Republican candidates. But with marijuana legalization being a key issue for Johnson, there’s the potential for voters already enthused about Amendment 64 to also cast votes in favor of the Libertarian presidential candidate –including some from the left-leaning youth demographic, pollsters say.”
Certainly Dan Gould, Chairman of the Boulder Democratic Party seems to take the threat seriously enough. He sent the following email to supporters:
Leafletting at Gary Johnson Speech Tonight
Don’t Let Johnson Take AWAY OBAMA’s VOTES!!
Things are happening really fast as November 6 approaches, and I need your help to put out a spark before it grows into a fire.
WHAT AM I TALKING ABOUT?
Gary Johnson, Libertarian Presidential Candidate, will be speaking at the CU Mathematics Building tonight at 7 PM. He is trying hard to peel student votes away from President Obama around the issue of deregulation of marijuana. With Colorado being so vital and so close at this point, we can’t let that happen.
A September poll for Reason magazine shows Johnson pulling equally from President Obama and Gov. Romney, but with the overwhelming number of registered libertarians polled choosing to vote for Romney. (See here for a libertarian case for doing just that.)
But it’s fair to assume that few libertarian Romney voters will be found on the Boulder campus this evening.