This is What the Third Party/Independent Vote Looked Like in the 2016 Presidential Election – 5.8%

In a presidential year when Gary Johnson spent some time polling above 10% and Jill Stein had moments being above 5%, there was a feeling that a third party candidate might get to the 5% popular vote threshold to trigger Federal election funding. When the sun rose on November 9th, the nation learned that it wasn’t to be.

Nationwide, presidential candidates other than Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton took 5.8% of the popular vote. While not enough of the total went to any one party for Federal election funds, it signaled a significant increase in votes compared to 2012.

As far as statewide results, Utah saw the highest percentage of the vote total go to someone without an R or D next to their name. 27.7% of Utah voters cast ballots outside of the major parties, mainly for Evan McMullin. On the other side of the spectrum, Mississippi voters rejected either major party at a 2% rate.

You can play games with the third party numbers to determine how the election would have been different if certain voters cast their ballots for other candidates. It is possible Hillary Clinton would have won Michigan with a majority of Green Party voters and a split of Libertarian Party voters. Wisconsin and Pennsylvania would still be within the realm of possibility as well, but it’s hard to tell exactly how many Johnson or Stein voters would have just stayed home or voted for a different candidate. There is also a school of thought that says Gary Johnson may have taken more votes from Trump than Clinton.


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