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WaPo Poll: Gary Johnson Takes Double Digits in 42 States

A recent poll by The Washington Post and SurveyMonkey found surprising support for Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson. Johnson is unlikely to reach the level he needs to be eligible for the presidential debates, but in 15 states he's already there.

To make the debates, Johnson would have to average 15 percent support in five pre-selected national polls by "mid-September." A 7 percent showing in a CNN/ORC poll on Tuesday effectively killed his chances of reaching 15 percent for the first debate. He would have to average 19.7 percent in the remaining three polls to reach that goal. In this poll, he reached 15 percent in 15 different states, and 10 percent or more in 42 states.

Perhaps this strong showing, along with the fact that most Americans want to see Johnson in the debates, might help his chances. Even former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney tweeted his support for Johnson in the debates.

Perhaps not surprisingly, Johnson did best in the state where he served as governor, New Mexico. Even there, he took 25 percent, behind both Trump (29 percent) and Clinton (37 percent). He took 23 percent in Utah, a deep red state where Trump (34 percent) is unpopular, but even there Clinton (27 percent) beat him. Johnson took 19 percent in Idaho, where Trump (44 percent) leads Clinton (25 percent) by a wide margin. He took 16 percent in Colorado and Iowa.

Johnson's worst showing came in Mississippi, where he took 4 percent, less than "no opinion" (5 percent), and nowhere near Trump (46 percent) or Clinton (43 percent). He stood at 7 percent in Kentucky (a deep red state with Trump at 52 percent and Clinton at 29 percent) and in Hawaii (a deep blue state where Clinton took 51 percent and Trump took 25 percent).

In general, the poll showed Clinton with a clear lead over Trump in the Electoral College, despite the Republican's recent rise in national polling over the last few weeks (he stands only 2.8 percent behind the Democrat in the RealClearPolitics average).

In a two-way match-up, Clinton led by four or more points in 20 states and the District of Columbia, adding up to 244 electoral votes, a mere 26 shy of the required 270 to win. Trump also led by at least four points in 20 states, but this support only added up to 168 electoral votes.

Most surprisingly, the poll found Texas to be a dead heat, with Clinton at 46 percent and Trump at 45 percent. In 2012, Romney won the state by 16 points.

But Trump has also brought some unexpected Midwest states into play, such as Wisconsin and Michigan, where Clinton led by only two points, while Trump beat her by four points in Iowa and three points in Ohio. Michigan proved most surprising, as the state has been very reliable for Democrats, always one of the 15 best states for them in the past five elections.

In the Rocky Mountain West, Colorado was a dead heat, with Clinton only two points ahead. In Arizona, Trump and Clinton stood roughly even, and in Nevada Clinton's 5-point lead shrinks to three points in a four-way race.

With Johnson and Green Party candidate Jill Stein included in the poll, Clinton's lead decreased and more states came into play. Stein moved the needle much less than Johnson. Her peak of 10 percent came in Vermont, and she took 8 percent in Maine, and 7 percent in eight states, most of which are liberal (Alaska, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Oregon, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, and Washington). She took only 2 percent in North Dakota, Mississippi, and Alabama.

The poll was conducted online between August 9 and September 1, with about 75,000 registered voters. The results showed strong and widespread support for Johnson.

Next Page: How the most viral Internet ad of the general election propelled Johnson's support.