Gary Johnson’s campaign for President has lately had a mix of bad and good news in the polls — more on that in a moment — but the poll on the front page of yesterday’s Washington Post definitely is one he will be talking about. Using SurveyMonkey online methodology, the survey measured voter opinion in each of the 50 states over the past month. And it finds the Libertarian candidate to be a serious factor in the race.

The headline finding for Johnson is that he reaches 15 percent of the vote or better in 15 states, and 10 percent or better in 42 states, that is, all but eight. The states where he makes the strongest showing are his own New Mexico (25 percent); Utah (23 percent); Alaska, Idaho, and South Dakota (19 percent); Kansas (17 percent); Colorado, Iowa, North Dakota, and Washington (16 percent); and Maine, Minnesota, Nebraska, Rhode Island, and Wyoming (15 percent).
At the other end, the eight states that lag most in enthusiasm for the mountain-climbing two-term governor are Louisiana and Maryland at 9 percent; Alabama, New Jersey, and New York at 8 percent; Hawaii and Kentucky at 7 percent; and Mississippi at a mere 4 percent.
It’s hard to dismiss this as statistical noise associated with the imperfections of measuring opinions in small states (where Johnson tends to do best) because both his stronger states and weaker states form coherent geographical clusters. If you were playing Game of the States, you could hop a continuous path on the map through all but two of his best states: Alaska, Idaho, Utah, New Mexico (a corner crossing, but the Milton Bradley rules say that’s okay), then up to Iowa and around Minnesota and the Dakotas to Wyoming. You’d still need to make it over to Maine and Rhode Island, two New England states known for their love of quirkiness, to finish collecting your biggest Johnson fans. The areas of the country not yet enthusiastic about Gary likewise form recognizable clusters: one in Louisiana-Mississippi-Alabama, the other New York-New Jersey-Maryland, plus Kentucky.