The impassioned outcry against third party voters that has arisen because of the recent Trump vote has prompted me, a third party (Green Party) voter to run some numbers to check the validity of the idea that we “spoiled” the elections.
Yes, I am biased. So take these results as you will. I will be running them primarily off CNN’s reporting of exit poll surveys, which may or may not be biased in their own right.
I will also be doing only red states for obvious reasons. And I am running on a number of assumptions. I am aware of them, but since this entire outcry against third party voters has also been based on assumptions… Well, at least mine has neat numbers.
edit// In this exit poll published by the New York Times, registered Democrats overwhelmingly said they would vote Clinton if they had only two choices, while registered Republicans overwhelmingly said they would vote Trump. Thus, my assumptions of assigning Democratic and Republican third party voters to Clinton and Trump respectively was correct. They did not poll Independents, so their voting style is still up in the air. A better Mathematician could probably do some margin of error calculations from this data. That is not me. //endedit
Note: I made this because I don’t think true coalition building can start if we’re trying to assign blame to one group of people over another. And I also think voting third party is a viable way to induce change and that people should not be censured or attacked for doing so. Voting third party is not just a site for the privileged elite; it’s also a site for marginalized folks — who have been traditionally silenced because of the electoral system — to make their votes count. Don’t make us out to be something we’re not.
This is the electoral map I’m poking at this time of writing:
Pennsylvania (with 97% of the votes in) — 20 votes
Stein clearly had no influence on the vote either way, but in the interest of all fairness, let’s look at Johnson. Would his voters (+ Stein’s) have pushed Clinton to victory if he (and Stein) wasn’t a candidate?
Nope. Only 1% of 42% of registered Democrats voted for him. Meaning 0.42% of people overall. This would’ve pushed Clinton up to 48.1%, still not enough to beat Trump. Not to mention the registered Republicans who voted for Johnson (2% of 39% of Republicans, making it 0.78% overall) would’ve pushed Trump up to 49.6%, still making it a Trump victory.
Would the 7% of Independents from Johnson alone have made a difference if they’d voted for Clinton? (7% x 20% = 1.4%) Nope. Not unless you count the 3% of Independents from Stein. But if there was no Johnson or Stein, who knows who the Independents would’ve voted for: Clinton? Trump? Another Independent? Maybe they wouldn’t even have voted.
Johnson and Stein confirmed not to be spoilers for PA.
Wisconsin (with 95% of the votes in) — 10 votes
Again, us Green Party folks would not have brought a Clinton win. (1.1% + 46.9% < 47.9%) But, again, in the interest of fairness, let’s look at Johnson. I cannot math apparently. For once, full Stein support of Clinton would’ve brought Clinton a slightly victory (48.0% > 47.9%). Let’s look at both Johnson and Stein more closely.
Yes, these numbers are already saying a lot. Johnson got only a 1% of a 35% Democratic vote, making it 0.35% overall. But, 3% out of a 35% Republican vote, making it 1.05% overall. Added to the polls, Clinton would’ve gotten 47.3% of the vote, while Trump would’ve gotten 48.9%, even if you round down a decimal.
For Stein, she has basically no Republicans voting for her. So her 1% Democratic voters would bump Clinton up to 47.6% if you include previous added Johnson voters. Still below Trump’s original amount, much less the addition 48.9% from Johnson Republicans.
Unless either 5% of Johnson Independents or all of Stein Independents threw their lot in with Clinton (highly unlikely — quite a few, I suspect, would’ve gone with Trump from Johnson, while Stein’s would’ve not voted), Clinton would not have won with the Johnson or Stein vote.
Johnson and Stein confirmed not spoilers for WI.
Ohio (with 94% of the vote in) — 18 electoral votes
I don’t even need to run the exit poll numbers on this one. Even if everyone in Johnson and Stein’s camp (3.2% + 0.8% = 4%) throws their lot in with Clinton, she’s still not even close to winning (43.5% + 4% = 47.5%).
Johnson and Stein confirmed not spoilers for OH.
West Virginia (with 95% of the vote in) — 5 votes
No need to do any multiplication with this one either. Johnson + Stein will yield 4.3% of the vote, added to Clinton’s makes 30.8%, still less than half of Trump’s vote.
Johnson and Stein confirmed not spoilers for WV.
South Carolina (with 94% of the votes in) — 9 votes
Johnson + Stein = 3%, added to Clinton’s total makes it 43%. Not enough to outseat Trump.
Johnson and Stein confirmed not spoilers in SC.
Georgia (with 92% of the votes in) — 16 votes
Stein didn’t even poll in Georgia. Johnson, added to Clinton’s total, brings her up to 48.6%, still not enough to defeat Trump’s lead.
Stein and Johnson confirmed not spoilers in GA.
Florida (with 98% of the votes in) — 29 votes
Stein voters wouldn’t have swung anything. But, yeah, let’s look at Johnson.
No Democrats within the sample size voted for Johnson, so that’s moot. But 1% out of a 33% Republican base voted for Johnson, so assuming that that number will go to Trump, Trump’s final score would increase to 49.4%. If the 5% of Johnson Independents voted for Clinton instead, she might’ve won by a narrow margin (49.6%). But would they? I personally think it’s a toss-up — those who would’ve voted for Clinton already did vote for her. Those who didn’t will probably never vote for her.
But, all speculation at this point. Hey! Doesn’t this remind you of something? Kind of like… the baseless speculation that Third Party Voters Ruin Everything™?? Golly gee.
Johnson and Stein confirmed not spoilers for Florida.
North Carolina (with 98% of the votes in) — 15 votes
Stein didn’t poll at all in North Carolina (unfortunately). Johnson’s 2.8% along with Clinton’s 46.7% will make only 49.5%. Not enough to beat Trump. Unsurprising considering NC Republicans publicly bragged about voter suppression.
Johnson and Stein confirmed not spoilers for NC.
Alabama (with 99% of the votes in) — 9 votes
Another clear-cut victory for Trump. 2.1% (Johnson) + 0.4% (Stein) = 2.5% + 34.6% (Clinton) = 37.1%. Still a landslide Trump victory.
Johnson and Stein confirmed not spoilers for AL.
Indiana (with 97% of the vote in) — 11 votes
Maybe I should’ve chosen to do only swing states. But, ah well, Clinton (37.9%) + Johnson (4.9%) = 42.8%. Still below Trump’s easy victory of 57.2%. Stein, again, did not poll in this state.
Johnson and Stein confirmed not spoilers in IN.
Kentucky (with 99% of the votes in) — 8 votes
Clinton (32.7%) + Johnson (2.8%) + Stein (0.7%) = 36.2% < Trump (62.5%). Do you still need me to calculate these numbers?
Johnson and Stein confirmed not spoilers in KY.
Tennessee (with 99% of the votes in) — 11 votes
Clinton (34.9%) + Johnson (2.8%) + Stein (0.6%) = 38.3% < Trump (61.1%).
Johnson and Stein confirmed not spoilers for TN.
Mississippi (with 94% of the votes in) — 6 votes
Clinton (39.8%) + Johnson (1.2%) + Stein (0.3%) = 41.3% < Trump (58.2%). Still have like half the Midwest to go, unfortunately.
Johnson and Stein confirmed not spoilers for MS.
Iowa (with 99% of the votes in) — 6 votes
Not even that close. Clinton (42.3%) + Johnson (3.7%) + Stein (0.7%) = 46.7% < Trump (51.7%).
Johnson and Stein confirmed not spoilers for IA.
Missouri (with 94% of votes in) — 10 votes
This is just getting more and more disheartening. Clinton (38%) + Johnson (3.5%) + Stein (0.9%) = 42.4% < Trump (57.1%).
Johnson and Stein confirmed not spoilers for MO.
Arkansas (with 99% of the votes in) — 6 votes
I don’t even need to math in Arkansas.
Johnson and Stein confirmed not spoilers in AR. They don’t even exist on the ballot.
Louisiana (with 99% of the votes in) — 8 votes
Clinton (38.4%) + Johnson (1.9%) + Stein (0.7%) = 41% < Trump (58.1%).
Johnson and Stein confirmed not spoilers for LA.
North Dakota (with 99% of the votes in) — 3 votes
Clinton (27.8) + Johnson (6.3%) + Stein (1.1%) = 35.2% < Trump (64.1%). This is going to go on for a while. Scroll down to Utah if you’re interested only in the swing states.
Johnson and Stein confirmed not spoilers for ND.
South Dakota (with 99% of the votes in) — 3 votes
Stein unfortunately failed to poll again. Clinton (31.7%) + Johnson (5.6%) = 37.3% < Trump (61.5%).
Johnson and Stein confirmed not spoilers for SD.
Nebraska (with 97% of the votes in) — 5 votes*
Nebraska’s (and Maine’s) electoral college is unique in that only two of its electoral votes goes to the state’s overall majority. The remaining 3 are each assigned based on the popular vote of its 3 congressional districts.
Even with that, it’s doubtful that Clinton will be able to cinch one electoral vote from Nebraska, so I’m just calculating overall popular vote to save myself the hassle. Politico confirms with 100% of the votes counted that Trump won all five electoral votes.
Clinton (34%) + Johnson (4.7%) + Stein (1%) = 39.7% < Trump (60.3%).
Johnson and Stein confirmed not spoilers for NE.
Kansas (with 95% of the votes in) — 6 votes
Clinton (36.1%) + Johnson (4.7%) + Stein (2%) = 42.8% < Trump (57.2%).
Johnson and Stein confirmed as not spoilers for KS.
Oklahoma (with 99% of the votes in) — 7 votes
Clinton (28.9%) + Johnson (5.7%) = 34.6% < Trump (65.3%). Stein, unfortunately, did not poll.
Johnson and Stein confirmed not spoilers for OK.
Texas (with 99% of the votes in) — 38 votes
Clinton (43.4%) + Johnson (3.2%) + Stein (0.8%) = 47.4% < Trump (52.6%).
Johnson and Stein confirmed not spoilers for TX.
Montana (with 93% of the votes in) — 3 votes
Clinton (35.4%) + Johnson (5.5%) + Stein (1.5%) = 42.4% < Trump (57.3%).
Johnson and Stein confirmed not spoilers for MT.
Wyoming (with 99% of the votes in) — 3 votes
Clinton (22.5%) + Johnson (5.3%) + Stein (1%) = 28.8% < Trump (70.1%). Wow, Trump won more than three times as much as all the other candidates combined. I don’t even know what to say.
Johnson and Stein confirmed not spoilers for WY.
Idaho (with 98% of the votes in) — 4 votes
Finally, the last one of the obviously Trump states. Clinton (27.5%) + Johnson (4.1%) + Stein (1.2%) = 32.8% < Trump (59.1%).
Johnson and Stein confirmed not spoilers for ID.
Utah (with 77% of the votes in) — 6 votes
OK, I’ll admit it: I do not know how to explain Utah. McMullin somehow manages to make the state a swing state all by himself. He doesn’t even have a political party affiliation. What in the world happened in Utah?! He basically sounds like a Bush-era conservative to me, other than that he believes in climate change. #Amazing
Johnson (3.2%) and Stein (0.7%) obviously had no power whatsoever here, even combined with Clinton (28.2%) to make 32.1% (still less than Trump’s 46.1%). And I’m not sure if I even want to give equal opportunity to McMullin, but let’s check out his demographics anyway, because I’m curious.
And what do you know? The majority of McMullin supporters are Republicans. And no one was surprised. If the 7% of the 23% Democrats (1.6% overall) went to Clinton, it would only bump her up to 33.7%, even if she had the complete support of both the Johnson and Stein voters. Now, if those 27% of the 44% Republican base (11.88% overall) decide to vote for Trump… his voters would rise to a whopping 58%. Even if the rest of McMullin’s Independents base (22% out of 34% Independents, 7.48% overall) decides to vote for Clinton (along with my previously added numbers), it would raise her up to only 41.2%, not enough to beat Trump’s original numbers of 46.1%, much less his elevated 58%.
Even with McMullin skewing the results, third party candidates, especially Johnson and Stein, confirmed not spoilers for UT.
Arizona (with 73% of the vote in) — 11 votes
A bit premature, with only 73% of the votes counted, but if things drastically change from these numbers, I’ll redo my calculations. Politico has reported the same percentages with 98.7% of the votes having been counted.
As it is now, neither Johnson (Clinton’s 45.3% + Johnson’s 3.8% comes out only to 49.1%, still less than Trump’s 49.7%) nor Stein (45.3% + Stein’s 1.2% comes out to 46.5%) alone has the power to swing the state.
If 4% of Johnson’s 28% Democratic base (1.12% overall) goes to Clinton, her vote rises to 46.4%, while if 5% of his 32% Republican base (1.6% overall) goes to Trump, his votes rise to 51.3%. Trump still wins. And even if Johnson’s Independent base (7% of 40%, 2.8% overall) joins Clinton’s, making 49.2%, she still loses to Trump’s original numbers, much less his boosted numbers. And even if you add in Stein’s Independents (3% of 40%, 1.2% overall), Clinton will end up with only 50.4%, beating Trump’s original numbers, but losing if Johnson’s Republicans do join Trump as projected (an extremely likely possibility).
So, Arizona is much less close than originally projected. Clinton can win only if all Independents join her, not just Johnson and Stein’s Independents.
Johnson and Stein confirmed not spoilers for AZ.
Alaska (with 73% of the vote in) — 3 votes
Also a bit premature, but I doubt the gap will lessen anymore, what with Alaska being a historically red state.
If it does, I’ll update this too. Politico confirms that these percentages are correct with 97.7% of the votes having been counted.
Clinton (37.6%) + Johnson (5.9%) + Stein (1.8%) = 45.3% < Trump (53%).
Johnson and Stein confirmed not spoilers for AK.
Michigan (with 96% of the votes in) — 16 votes
I screencapped from CNN, but I cross-checked with Politico that these percentages are right with 100% of the votes in.
And, yes, I’ll just come right out and say it now: Michigan is the only state in which you can make a plausible argument that a third party candidate spoiled the election.
For Johnson, if 2% of the 40% Democratic base (0.8% overall) gets added to Clinton’s total, her numbers rise to 48.1%, while 2% of the 31% Republican base (0.62% overall) will raise Trump to 48.2%. So, still a narrow victory for Trump, unless a few of Johnson’s Independents (~57%) join in.
Conversely, Stein has no Republicans voting for her, and 1% of the Democratic base (0.4% overall). In Stein’s case, even without the Independents, as long as at least 80% of her registered Democrats vote for Clinton, Clinton would’ve been able to scrape by with a victory. And since I think it is highly, highly unlikely that any of her Independents would deign to vote for Trump (even if they refuse to vote for Clinton), I’m not even going to entertain that scenario.
So, an interesting moment where Johnson’s spoiling the election is only a likely possibility, while Stein supporters actually did. One state, out of the 30 states that Trump actually won. But, sure, the whole election was spoiled by third party voters.
Johnson confirmed not spoiler, while Stein confirmed as spoiler for MI.
+1 Maine (with 96% of the votes in) — 4 votes*
Like Nebraska, Maine’s electoral college is unique in that two of its votes goes to the overall majority, while the remaining two goes to each of its two congressional districts’ majority. Trump won 1 electoral vote from Maine. In an overwhelming majority.
And, no, I am not going to add up all the votes from each township. It’s a very obvious Trump victory if you check CNN’s interactive Maine map. Johnson and Stein seemed to poll heavily only in the 1st district, which Clinton won.
(And wow, look at Johnson supporters totally spoiling things for Trump here. Trump could have won if these third party voters didn’t vote third party!!111 /s)
Johnson and Stein confirmed not spoilers for Maine’s 1 electoral vote that went to Trump.
Summary: Trump won with a landslide in Ohio (18), West Virginia (5), South Carolina (9), Georgia (16), North Carolina (15), Alabama (9), Indiana (11), Kentucky (8), Tennessee (11), Mississippi (6), Iowa (6), Missouri (10), Arkansas (6), Louisiana (8) North Dakota (3), South Dakota (3), Nebraska (5), Kansas (6), Oklahoma (7), Texas (38), Montana (3), Wyoming (3), Idaho (4), Utah (6), Alaska (3), and part of Maine (1). Meaning he won 220 votes in 25 (and a half) states without contest.
Clinton won with a landslide in Vermont (3), Rhode Island (4), Massachusetts (11), Connecticut (7), Delaware (3), New York (29), New Jersey (14), Maryland (10), Washington DC (3), Virginia (13), Illinois (20), Washington (12), Oregon (7), California (55), and Hawaii (4). Meaning she won 195 votes in 15 states (including DC) without contest. Less than Trump.
The only state that was legitimately “spoiled” for Clinton was Michigan (16). It is the only state in which, if all registered Democrats who voted had voted for Clinton, Clinton would have won.
For possible “spoilers” (as in, if you assume all the Independents decided they suddenly love Clinton and vote for her):
The only states Johnson voters alone could’ve swung in Clinton’s favor is Florida (29) and Wisconsin (10) — and even then it would’ve brought Clinton only a 0.2% lead in Florida. Florida and Wisconsin could not have swung on Democratic third party voters alone. Meanwhile, like Johnson, Stein voters alone can also swing Wisconsin (10), but only by a 0.1% lead.
Johnson and Stein voters together could have swung only Pennsylvania (20) and Arizona (11) in Clinton’s favor, and again only if all registered Independents decide to vote Clinton. And, again, unlikely, since Johnson supporters tend to skew conservative/right.
Assuming that Clinton gets Michigan automatically, it’ll bring her votes up to 211, still lower than Trump’s landslide victories estimate (220).
And, of the states that did vote for Clinton, New Hampshire (4) was actually “spoiled” by Johnson for Trump, while Colorado (9), New Mexico (5), Nevada (6), Minnesota (10), and the other parts of Maine (4) could have all swung in favor of Trump without Johnson, provided his Independents decided to vote for Trump.
Conclusions: There is no evidence that suggests Johnson and Stein are spoilers for the election. If anything, they affected both parties fairly equally (each party had one state “spoiled” by a third party). You can call me biased for saying that not all registered Independents will automatically jump ship to Clinton if their candidate magically doesn’t exist anymore, but I’m not here to say what the Independents are doing. I’m here to say that we third party voters didn’t “steal” most of their votes from Clinton. We’ve always voted Green and we’ll continue to vote Green.
Regurgitating what I’ve written on Facebook dozens of times already:
We didn’t vote for Stein just because of our conscience. We voted to try and break the two-party coalition. (5% of the POPULAR VOTE to become a viable political party!)
Third party folks didn’t take votes away from Clinton. The terribly broken electoral system that actively benefits white supremacy did. The over-reporting and misrepresentation of Trump as a viable candidate did. Voting suppression due to the gutting of the voting rights act did. The fact that the superdelegates decided to support Clinton over Sanders despite initial reports of Sanders polling better against Trump.
There are so many other things to blame other than actual people (and many of them marginalized people who felt in danger from both a Trump AND a Clinton presidency) who voted in an effort to prevent the stagnation of our political system. Many of them from non-swing states. Many of them who have always voted for the third party. Who wouldn’t have voted otherwise.
We are not the problem. Stop trying to make us one.
Trump’s victory is not an outlier. It was not an accident. Don’t treat it as one. Treat it as symptomatic of how America is today. This election was, unquestionably, American.