On September 19, Pew Research Center released a presidential poll. Among the questions were whether the respondent had ever heard of any of three particular presidential candidates. 26% had heard of Gary Johnson, 18% had heard of Jill Stein, and 9% had heard of Virgil Goode.
The poll asked respondents whether they are voting for President Obama or Mitt Romney. 2% of the registered voters, and 1% of the likely voters, volunteered someone else, but the poll does not report further details. The poll does show that independent voters are far more likely to vote for a minor party presidential candidate. Registered or self-identified Democrats plan to vote 89% for Obama, 10% for Romney, and 1% volunteered “someone else” or undecided. Registered or self-identified Republicans plan to vote 6% for Obama, 91% for Romney, and 3% other. But independents plan to vote 44% for Obama, 42% for Romney, and 14% other. Here are the full results.
Polls consistently report that independent voters support minor party candidates to a much greater degree than Republican or Democratic voters do. Ironically, Independent Voting, and the California Independent Voters Project, hold themselves out as representing the interests of independent voters, and yet both those organizations advocate top-two systems, which prevent minor party candidates from running in the general election.