For now, Clinton’s national team and Democrats close to them chalk up Johnson-focused concerns to classic liberal panic, especially as they think his window is closing. While a new national Quinnipiac poll this week showed 60 percent of Clinton voters and 50 percent of Trump voters want to see Johnson on the debate stages — and while his campaign placed a full-page New York Times ad to that effect on Wednesday — his chances of reaching the polling threshold are vanishing rapidly. Top Clinton officials long expected Trump to agitate to get Johnson on the stage, but the Republican nominee has said he doesn’t want that to happen.
A handful of recent polls show Johnson drawing evenly from Trump’s and Clinton’s support — not just whittling down Trump’s.
“Westerners in general, Nevadans in particular, are independent thinkers, and we have a wide variety in our state, between urban Nevada and rural Nevada,” said Bob Miller, the state’s last Democratic governor, making the case that Clinton “definitely” needs to be concerned about Johnson’s presence there. “There’s just every kind of opinion you can think of. [The] northeastern part of the state and other parts of rural Nevada have a libertarian element.”
It’s a brewing in-state concern rather than a national freak-out so far, especially since Johnson’s inclusion in polling has made it nearly impossible for Trump to break 45 percent nationally.