On January 4th, a new thread was posted on the popular Dave Leip’s US Elections Forum asking forum users who their pick is for the 2016 Libertarian Party presidential candidate. In a poll with 63 votes, Gary Johnson is in the lead with 29 votes, followed by Darryl W. Perry with 14 votes, Jesse Ventura with 9 votes, John McAfee with 6 votes, and all other choices with 5 votes.
Bonus question: How do you think the nomination will go?
I’m leaning toward Johnson at this point but have been impressed by Petersen and McAfee, more than Ventura. I’m guessing that Johnson will announce soon and win on the first ballot again, but with a much more narrow majority. I don’t think Ventura will announce, and the CSPAN debate this year will probably include: Johnson, McAfee, Petersen, Kerbel, and Perry. I doubt that any of the others, including McAfee, will be a particularly close second place, although I also think it’s likely that Johnson will perform poorly in the debate.
Here’s my way-too-early prediction for the balloting. As a reminder, 2012 went like this on the first ballot:
Here’s one way it could go on the first ballot for 2016:
Johnson: 52% (wide variety of support, including a lock on the Barr ’08 supporters, i.e. the party’s dominant right-leaning pragmatist wing)
McAfee: 17% (supported by some of the Russo ’04 and Gravel ’08 supporters, but gets no support at all from radicals)
Perry: 15% (supported by some of the Badnarik ’04 / Ruwart ’08 / Wrights ’12 crowd, i.e. radicals, who should give him a better showing than he deserves)
Petersen: 7% (supported by some of the Root ’08 crowd, he is second to Johnson to the party’s large right-leaning pragmatist wing so I think he shows more poorly than expected)
Kerbel: 5% (supported by some of the Nolan ’04 crowd, i.e. Harry Browne’s old guard)
With Ventura, I think Jesse literally halves the McAfee support since he draws from a similar wing, and also drains a bit from Johnson, and forces multiple ballots, something like: