Today is the final day for federal candidates to file their paperwork to get on the Iowa ballot. Gary Johnson’s supporters turned in their papers this morning, confirmed the Iowa Secretary of State’s office, the last of the four most well-known candidates to do so. There’s a one-week period for which objections can be filed that ends next Friday. As of 3:00 PM, Republican and former CIA operative Evan McMullin had not submitted papers for his independent, anti-Trump bid (some of his supporters were collecting signatures outside the Iowa State Fair earlier this week). [Update: McMullin did file his paperwork to appear on the ballot late in the day]
[Updated]: As of right now, the following candidates will appear on the presidential section of the Iowa ballot:
Darrell Castle (Constitution Party)
Jill Stein (Green Party)
Dan Vacek (Legalize Marijuana Now)
Gary Johnson (Libertarian Party)
Lynn Khan (New Independent Party)
Gloria La Riva (Party for Socialism and Liberation)
Rocky De La Fuente (“nominated by petition”)
Evan McMullin (“nominated by petition”)
To qualify to be a presidential candidate in Iowa, candidates simply have to collect 1,500 signatures from 10 different counties. Stein made the ballot back on August 1.
As DesMoinesDem wrote at Bleeding Heartland, this could easily be a historic year for Libertarians in Iowa. The best they’ve done since 1976 was a whopping 1.00% of the vote for president in 1980. With some polls showing Johnson in the double-digits, they’re almost certain to set an all-time record.
How does this impact the major party candidates’ chances in Iowa? Would Johnson’s inclusion hurt Trump and would Stein cause more damage to Clinton? It’s hard to tell exactly.
In a Quinnipiac Poll released earlier this week, Clinton led Trump 47% to 44% in a two-way matchup. In a four-way matchup, Clinton dropped 6 points to 41% and Trump went down 4 points to 39%. Johnson received 12% and Stein 3%.
According to the poll’s cross tabs, Johnson took 11% of Republican voters’ support, 5% of Democrats’ and 18% of Independents. Stein drew 1% of Republicans, 2% of Democrats and 6% of Independents’ votes. In the two-way race, 10% of voters chose “someone else” or “don’t know.” Of those, they took 7% from Republicans, 2% from Democrats and 15% from Independents.
When the sample sizes get this small, these breakouts should be taken with a grain of salt. Still, it seems like most of what Johnson and Stein take from is the Independent voters who wouldn’t commit to voting for Clinton or Trump in the first place. To a lesser extent, Republican voters are much more likely to back Johnson than Democrats are to break off to Johnson or Stein. So more third party candidates in Iowa appear to help Clinton’s chances overall, but not to an overwhelming extent.
With polls this summer showing Clinton and Trump no more than within 4 points of each other, any little bit of support either Johnson or Stein can pull away could easily make the difference.
by Pat Rynard
Photo via Gage Skidmore