Libertarian Party eyes spoiler role in 2012 race

Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson almost certainly can’t win the presidential election this year. But his supporters claim he could determine who does.

Johnson, the former New Mexico governor who briefly and unsuccessfully competed for the Republican presidential nomination before joining the Libertarians, is polling barely above 5 percent nationwide. Yet his numbers in key battleground states suggest he could make a difference in what is shaping up to be a tight contest between President Obama and Mitt Romney.

He was rating at 13 percent in New Mexico and 9 percent in Arizona in recent polling — not enough to win, but certainly enough to disadvantage whichever major-party candidate he’s drawing votes away from.

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