The Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD), a private organization controlled by the Democratic and Republican Parties, relied on rigged polls in its decision to exclude Libertarian Gov. Gary Johnson from the second presidential debate, being held on October 9, 2016. This comes in spite of the fact that polls consistently show Johnson draws broad support from independents, military personnel, and millennials.
“By excluding the candidate most popular with independent voters, young voters, and military voters, the CPD is silencing their voices in the political process and showing that they have no interest in educating and informing the electorate,” said Nicholas Sarwark, Chair of the Libertarian Party.
Johnson is ahead of Trump among millennials and ahead of Clinton among military personnel.
To justify excluding Johnson, the decision-makers at the CPD — Janet Brown, Frank Fahrenkopf, and Mike McCurry — relied on five highly misleading polls that showed Johnson falling short of their required 15-percent average.
The CPD claims their selection of the polls was based on their “soundness of the survey methodology.”
But according to Fair Debates, each of the five polls contains at least one serious flaw. For example:
- They start with a survey question asking whether survey respondents would vote for Republican Donald Trump or Democrat Hillary Clinton even though Johnson will also be on the ballot for each and every American voter.
- They include numerous questions about Trump and Clinton and only one that mentions Johnson.
- They ask outright whether respondents believe Trump or Clinton will win the election.
All of these methodologies send the false message: “Only the Democrat and the Republican are really in this race.”
“It is highly probable that, had the CPD used sound polls, as their own criteria require, Johnson would be polling well over 15 percent, and they’d have no excuse to exclude him from the debates,” said Sarwark. “But clearly, fairness is not their intent. Maintaining their two-party duopoly is.”
“The CPD calls itself a ‘nonprofit’ organization,” he continued. “But big money is at the heart of what drives the two old parties, which control the CPD and which are bought and sold by special interests. No wonder they want to keep out Johnson, whose two terms as governor of New Mexico proved he’s as impervious to special-interest peddling as a candidate can be.”
The Libertarian, Republican, and Democratic presidential tickets are the only ones on the ballot in all 50 states, plus the District of Columbia, this November.
Johnson has been endorsed by the Chicago Tribune (hometown newspaper of Democrat Hillary Clinton), the Detroit News, the New Hampshire Union-Leader, the Richmond Times-Dispatch(hometown newspaper of Democrat Tim Kaine), and the Winston-Salem Journal.