Washington (CNN) – Gary Johnson's poll numbers may not give him much-of-a shot at winning the presidency, but in the latest CNN/ORC Poll, he is registering enough of a following to possibly tip the balance in an increasingly close election.
Three percent of likely voters responded that they would vote for Johnson, the Libertarian Party's candidate for president, in November. That number is slightly higher among registered voters, with 4% identifying with the former governor of New Mexico.
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The poll also finds that Johnson's inclusion, along with the Green Party's candidate Jill Stein, hurts Republican candidate Mitt Romney more than it does President Barack Obama.
Obama leads Romney 52% to 46% when Romney and Obama are the only candidates in question, but Romney's support goes down three percentage points with the inclusion of the third party candidates. Obama's support only drops one point.
"The inclusion of the two minor-party candidates turns a six-point margin for President Obama into an eight-point lead," said Keating Holland, CNN's Polling Director. Since third party candidates are typically not on the ballot in all 50 states, those numbers can be slight deceiving when relating them to the support the candidates will receive on Election Day.
Johnson, who first ran as a candidate for the Republican Party, dropped out of the Republican race and accepted the nomination from the Libertarian Party on May 5, 2012.
The Johnson campaign says they don't see their candidacy as a Republican spoiler and argues that the Johnson's appeal is more important when looked at on a state-by-state.
"Generally, in places like Colorado, New Mexico and Nevada," said Joe Hunter, Johnson campaign spokesperson, "it appears that Governor Johnson's appeal comes from folks that supported Obama in 2008 and are now disillusioned with the president."
He continued: "Who cares if Johnson takes votes from Romney in California?"
Johnson is running a largely outsiders campaign and has actively been looking to pull votes from the Romney and Obama base. In the last two weeks, he attended rallies in both Tampa, Florida – the site of the Republican National Convention – and Charlotte, North Carolina – the site of the Democrats convention.
The campaign has also put a great deal of focus on courting former Ron Paul supporters since the ardently supported libertarian stopped his campaign for the Republican nomination. Johnson spoke at a Paul rally in Tampa and Hunter argues that they are making in roads among the typically loyal Paul supporters.
Johnson is rarely included in national polls, something the Johnson campaign has long complained about.
"Our issue is that polls become self-fulfilling," said Hunter, before the latest poll numbers came out. Hunter went on to say that even if a poll shows only a small following, they create a conversation about the candidate and increase the campaign's profile.
"If you are not even in the poll than you are not in the conversation," Hunter concluded.
This latest CNN/ORC poll sampled 1,022 adult Americans and was conducted by telephone on September 7-9, 2012. The margin of error is plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.
Watch "OutFront" tonight at 7pm ET for Erin Burnett's interview with Gary Johnson.