"New Mexico's former governor Gary Johnson actually does better against Obama than Romney
... one GOP candidate who is an asterisk in national polling actually comes closer to Obama than he [Romney] does- the state's former Governor Gary Johnson who trails by only 3 points at 46-43. Although Obama leads the rest of the Republican candidates by 16-26 points with independents, Johnson actually tops the President with that voter group at 46-37. He also picks up more than 20% of the Democratic vote.
... Johnson's unusually popular for a Republican...with voters who aren't Republicans...his problem is the primary voters who hold the key to the nomination. Numbers we'll release tomorrow show he's not doing terribly well on that front even in his home state.
What PPP's poll shows is Gary Johnson has the best chance against Obama when voters get to know him, his honesty, his integrity, and his record.
His issue is winning the primary, but if the media starts giving him the coverage he deserves and covers him as the candidate with the best chance to beat Obama, then Republican voters will start paying attention and voting for him.
[Note: PPP conducted a similar poll in early February prior to Johnson declaring his candidacy, and Johnson was trailing Obama by 15 pts (51-36)]