In an hour-long town hall style interview with MSNBC’s Chris Matthews on Wednesday at the University of New Hampshire, Libertarian Party presidential candidate Gary Johnson made national headlines after blanking when trying to remember the name of former Mexican president Vicente Fox.
Matthews asked the former New Mexico governor what world leader he respects and admires, to which Johnson responded that he was having “a brain freeze.” Former Massachusetts governor Bill Weld, sitting alongside his running mate, immediately bailed Johnson out reminding him of the name of the “former president of Mexico,” he was trying to recall.
Trying to capitalize on the gaffe, Green Party candidate Jill Stein tweeted on Thursday morning that her three “favorite leaders” were Canada’s Elizabeth May, Brazil’s João Stedile and UK Labour Party head Jeremy Corbyn.
Poll experts now believe that if Johnson’s support begins to erode after his latest “Aleppo moment”, Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton will be the net beneficiary, most acutely among voters under the age of 35.
“The conversation up until (the first presidential debate) for millennials was I don’t like Hillary, I don’t like Trump, Johnson is a solid third choice,” said Della Volpe, director of polling at Harvard’s Institute of Politics (IOP).
A small IOP survey of students at 20 U.S. colleges and universities before Monday’s debate found 52 percent support Clinton, 21 percent favor Trump and 13 percent prefer Johnson.
Republican strategist Steve Schmidt predicted that some of Johnson’s would-be voters will switch their support to Clinton after Trump’s performance earlier in the week showed a lack of foreign policy knowledge.
“A lot of those Gary Johnson voters are Republican voters who are just not comfortable with Trump, and there’s nothing that he did tonight that’s going to pull those voters into that column,” he said.
A WBUR/MassINC survey of 502 likely New Hampshire voters conducted from Tuesday to Thursday showed evidence that Schmidt’s hypothesis may be valid. When given four candidates to choose from, Clinton garnered 42 percent support, to Trump’s 35, Johnson’s 13 and Stein’s four.
In a two-way hypothetical election, however, Clinton’s lead over her Republican rival in the Granite State jumped from seven to nine points, 47 to 38 percent.
Clinton being the beneficiary of Johnson’s apparent lack of foreign policy knowledge may be ironic given that the Libertarian nominee also said in the same MSNBC interview on Wednesday that the former Secretary of State would be “more hawkish” and “is going to press the button,” as president and launch nuclear weapons.
[The Hill] [Politico] [Bloomberg] [Washington Examiner] [MSNBC] [Photo courtesy Inquisitr]