This man could cost either candidate the race

Gary Johnson has been described as the real “X factor” in this election race.

The former New Mexico governor — and former Republican — is making a nearly invisible third-party bid as the candidate of the Libertarian Party.

He barely registered as a blip in the last comprehensive national poll that bothered including him, earning just 2% support.

Still, chances are good he’ll be the spoiler today.

“In Ohio — the swing state of all swing states — Johnson will likely tear a full percentage point away from Romney in the polls. With the presidential race as tight as it is, even that single point in Ohio could turn the election,” says Chris Miles at PolicyMic, a news and analysis site, which counts Condoleeza Rice among its contributors.

“I hope I’m a spoiler for both of them,” Johnson recently told the Boston Herald.

CNN polling data from September showed about 4% of registered voters would consider voting for him. Of likely voters, about 3% would vote for him. His main source of support comes from the 35 to 49 age demographic, the voting bloc that greatly favours President Obama. Romney’s main support comes from voters older than 65.

Even if Johnson does not garner enough votes to have a chance of becoming president, there is a mathematical likelihood that he will draw support away from the incumbent president but also the Republican challenger. “Gary Johnson doesn’t have to get a lot of votes to have a huge impact in the swing states, and New Hampshire is one of them,” John Zogby told the Herald.

Citing lukewarm conservative voters, Newsday daily notes that votes for Johnson will drain support away from Romney. Although his social viewpoints make him attractive to disenchanted Democratic voters as well, the crossover may not be as considerable as it could become for the Republicans.

“I wouldn’t be doing this if I didn’t think I could do a really good job as president of the United States,” Johnson recently told the Washington Post.

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