Gary Johnson, Jill Stein on N.H. ballot: Can they get to the debates?

The Libertarian Party is on the ballotin 47 states and the Green Party reports that its on the ballot in 42 states.

(AP Photo/Ann Sanner)
Libertarian Party activists in Ohio carry boxes of signature petitions to the Secretary of State's Office Tuesday, Aug. 9, 2016, in Columbus, Ohio, in hopes of placing presidential candidate Gary Johnson on the November ballot.

The leading third party candidates for president — Libertarian Gary Johnson and the Green Party's Jill Stein — will appear on the New Hampshire ballot in November.

Both have submitted the necessary 3,000 signatures to be listed on the ballot as presidential candidates. Ms. Stein's supporters delivered stacks of paperwork to the Secretary of State's office Friday; Mr. Johnson had already qualified. The election is Nov. 8.

The Libertarian Party says that it's currently on the ballot with its 2016 presidential candidate in 47 states, plus D.C., and remains on track to be on the ballot in all 50. The Green Party reports that it's on the ballot in 42 states, plus Washington D.C. 

Stein and Johnson saw little success in their 2012 bids, with Johnson winning 1.3 million votes and Stein less than half a million. But both are hoping to capitalize on the electorate's negative feelings toward Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton to energize new supporters.

Stein, who is anti-war and advocates for an aggressive move toward clean energy, is appealing to supporters of former Democratic presidential candidate Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. Johnson, meanwhile, says his fiscally conservative but more socially liberal views put him in line with most voters.

Johnson recently campaigned in the state and is better known among New Hampshire voters than Stein, according to a July poll from the University of New Hampshire Survey Center.

Winning a spot on the presidential debate stage will be critical for Johnson's and Stein's ability to share their views with a wide audience. Each needs to hit 15 percent in several selected national polls. As of now, neither has. Johnson overall polls higher (about 10 percent) than Stein (about 3-4 percent)

The Christian Science Monitor reported that three out of five American voters want a third-party candidate to speak during the coming presidential debates, according to the latest Quinnipiac University poll – a sign that Americans want an alternative to this unusually negative presidential race.

There are three presidential debates scheduled for September and October. The first is Sept. 26 at Hofstra University in New York. 

But Politico reports that Johnson's polling numbers have plateaued;

Looking at the same five polls the commission will use, Johnson’s support was actually a point higher, 10.8 percent, in the pre-conventions round of polling than it is now...

In an interview on “Fox News Sunday” this week, Johnson acknowledged that falling short would be “game over” for his chances of winning. Additionally, as a third-party candidate looking to spread an ideological message, missing the stage would mean losing a chance to make the libertarian case to millions of viewers.

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