The first national poll released since Rep. Justin Amash (L-Cascade Township) took the first official steps towards a presidential campaign found there is limited interest in voting for a third party candidate.
The Monmouth University Poll published on Wednesday, May 6, shows support for Joe Biden is continuing despite the sexual assault allegation, and the former vice president maintains a lead over President Donald Trump.
The poll found 50% of registered voters support Biden, compared to 41% for Trump. When Amash was added into the mix, the backing for both of the leading candidates dropped marginally— Biden gets 47% of voters, Trump gets 40% and Amash gets 5%.
The Monmouth poll notes that in March of 2016, Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson had support from 11% of voters, which gradually dropped; he received 3% of the vote in November.
“Overall, there is not as much of an appetite for a third option as there was four years ago. It’s too early to tell whether Amash will have an impact but if this election ends up being as close as 2016, even a small showing can have a crucial impact,” said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute.
Amash announced on Tuesday, April 28 that he had launched an exploratory committee seeking the Libertarian nomination for president. In an interview after the announcement, the congressman said he's not running to be a spoiler.
"I didn't want to run unless I felt like I could win, and I do feel like I can win this race," he said. "I don't want to run to be a spoiler, never wanted to run to be a spoiler wanted to run to win the presidency."
Amash contends that by competing against two candidates that "represent the past," he presents an alternative.
The poll also found that most voters, 81%, have no opinion of Amash, with 6% having a favorable opinion and 13% an unfavorable opinion. This lack of name recognition is an issue that Amash recognizes.
"I have to introduce myself to the rest of the country," he said in the April 28 interview, supposing that his name might be recognized by 1-2% of the country. That's after the congressman gained some notoriety for being the first Republican to call for an impeachment investigation and then leaving the party, citing a "partisan death spiral."
In the past week, it's clear Amash been working to get his name out there through interviews with the national press— lots of interviews, CNN, MSNBC and Fox News to name a few.
Regardless, the polling shows he still faces an uphill battle in gaining enough widespread support to make a dent in trying to win the White House. The Libertarian Party plans to nominate their candidate at a Memorial Day convention.
Until then, Amash's campaign says running for re-election in Michigan's 3rd Congressional district is still on the table.
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