Third Party Candidates
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That is probably why support for these candidates seems to be increasing. An article in The Hill reports that Libertarian Gary Johnson has gone from 4.5 percent to 7.2 percent in the RealClearPolitics polling averages. Green Party candidate Jill Stein has also seen an increase from 2.5 percent to 3.5 percent.
Will these third party candidates affect the election? Just ask Democrats who are convinced that Ralph Nader’s 2.5 percent in Florida led to the 2000 election of George W. Bush over Al Gore. Some Republicans believe that the 19 million votes in 1992 cast for Ross Perot cost George H.W. Bush the election.
The possible impact on this year’s election may be a factor, but it is unclear how much. Most polls show Libertarian Gary Johnson pulling more from conservative voters than from liberals. Just the opposite seems to be true for Green Party candidate Jill Stein. It is also interesting that a Quinnipiac poll found that Donald Trump did better in swing states against Hillary Clinton when all four candidates were included in the poll questions.
Will any third party candidate make it to the debate stage? That is unlikely since you need to be receiving at least 15 percent of the vote. Ross Perot was able to get on the 1992 stage. I don’t see Gary Johnson joining Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.
However, the impact of a third party candidate in a swing state could be significant. Ralph Nader had an impact in Florida. Gary Johnson or Jill Stein could have an impact in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, New Mexico, or Florida. That is why it is worth watching third party candidates and their campaigns.
Kerby Anderson is a radio talk show host heard on numerous stations via the Point of View Network endorsed by Dr. Bill Smith, Editor, ARRA News Service
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