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Johnson hopeful to make US presidential debates

US Libertarian presidential nominee Gary Johnson says he has a better than “50 percent chance” at making the debate stage with Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and the Republican ticket, Donald Trump.

“We really think we’re going to make it happen, I think there’s better than a 50 percent chance that it will happen,” Johnson told Yahoo News on Monday.

Since the 2000 election cycle, the US Commission on Presidential Debates has set a 15-percent threshold  that the candidate need to reach in an average of five national polls before qualifying for the debates that are traditionally held in autumn.

Polling at high single digit numbers, Johnson only needs a few more points to secure his seat on the debate stage.

“Right now we’re reaching over 30 million people on social media, of course at the fringes that just means they’re hearing the name for the first time, really optimistic this is going to happen,” he said.

According to a Monmouth University poll, released on Monday, the former governor of New Mexico grabbed 7 percent support, trailing Clinton and Trump with 46 percent and 39 percent.

Johnson was followed by Green Party candidate Jill Stein who garnered only 2 percent support.

The Libertarian candidate said he was hopeful that social media networks like Facebook would help him reach the required threshold to attend at least one of the three debates.

“They keep the polling going on even though you wouldn’t make the first debate,” said Johnson. “It’s conceivable you could make 15 percent for the second or third, so that remains a possibility.”

“If you’re not in the presidential debate, there’s no way you’re going to win the presidency, given that the first presidential debate is estimated to garner more viewership than the Super Bowl,” he added.

Johnson, who also ran as his party’s candidate in 2012, is trying to make the most out of the unpopularity problem that Trump and Clinton are faced with.

An Associated Press-GfK poll released in July found that 81 percent of US voters were worried by the idea of a Clinton or Trump presidency.

This has given third-party candidates like Johnson and Stein a better chance of making it to the White House.


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