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Washington Post: Gary Johnson’s third-party presidential bid: A real factor or just a footnote?

Gary Johnson, the Republican-turned-Libertarian Party presidential candidate, won’t come close to matching the vote totals of President Obama and Mitt Romney next month. Nonetheless, he’s a variable in a handful of battleground states that could determine the outcome of the election.

Presidential swing states with libertarian and independent streaks like Colorado, Nevada and New Hampshire are where Johnson threatens to be the biggest factor (Johnson’s home state of New Mexico appears to be leaning towards Obama). And his presence on the ballot appears to imperil Romney’s support more than Obama’s. Conservative voters who are only lukewarm about the Republican candidate might be tempted to instead cast their vote for Johnson. Because of his social views, he could also steal some support away from Obama on the left, too, though perhaps not as much.

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