2016 Presidential Election: Is Johnson a “spoiler”? (Trump-edition)

Yes, I know it’s a bit inaccurate to see if Johnson spoiled Trump, considering that Trump actually won. But seeing how Johnson has a pretty solid conservative base, I wanted to see how possible it was that Johnson actually helped Clinton to victory more than he hurt her.

So, yes, let’s look at the blue states.

I will be skipping those in which Clinton won a landslide victory, in the interest of time. And I will be skipping Stein if the exit polls indicate that no Republicans voted for her.


Maine (with 98% of the votes in) — 3 out of 4 votes

elections048

Clinton: 47.9% (354,873) / Trump: 45.2% (334,838) / Johnson: 5.1% (37,764)

Since I already covered the 1 electoral vote Trump won for Maine in the previous post, I’ll be focusing on the 2 + 1 vote that Clinton ended up winning.

From the get-go, it’s clear that if all of Johnson’s supporters voted for Trump, he would’ve won Maine’s majority electoral vote easily, but let’s look more closely.

Johnson: 1% of polled Democrats & 4% of polled Republicans

Johnson: 1% of polled Democrats & 4% of polled Republicans

As always, Johnson has a solid Republican base. If 4% of the 30% Republican base (1.2%) decides to vote for Trump, it would boost his vote to 46.4%, still not enough to overcome Clinton’s original estimate, much less what her vote would be after being boosted (1% of 31% Democrats, 0.31% overall –> 48.2%).

Of course, if Johnson’s Independents base (9% of 39% Independents, 3.5% overall) decides to all join Trump, his score would be boosted to 49.9%, easily beating Clinton. But, like I mentioned in the Clinton bit, I find it highly unlikely that all the Independents will throw their vote behind a single candidate.

It’s also pretty clear from looking at CNN’s interactive map of the counties that Clinton polled pretty high in the 1st district, despite Johnson also getting around average 5%-6% of the vote. Her victory there is pretty clear-cut, and I’m too lazy to spend any more time on it.

Johnson confirmed not spoiler for ME.

New Hampshire (with 98% of the votes in) — 4 votes

Clinton: 47.6% (348,126), Trump: 47.3% (345,598) / Johnson: 4.2% (30,530)

Clinton: 47.6% (348,126), Trump: 47.3% (345,598) / Johnson: 4.2% (30,530)

It was pretty clear that New Hampshire was precarious for Clinton during election day, since up until the last minute, folks were sure that it was going to end up as a red state.

elections051

Johnson: 1% of polled Democrats & 3% of polled Republicans

If Johnson’s Democrats (1% of 28%, 0.28% overall) joined Clinton, it would bump her up to only 47.9%, while if Johnson’s Republicans (3% of 28%, 0.84% overall) joined Trump, it would bump him up to 48.1%.

Unless Stein’s Democrats (also 0.28% overall) also join Clinton, making 48.2% (and none of Johnson’s enormous 7% Independents base joins Trump — highly unlikely, in my opinion), Trump would’ve won. So, I think it is fair to say…

Johnson confirmed spoiler for NH.

Colorado (with 92% of the votes in) — 9 votes

Clinton: 47.3% (1,212,209) / Trump: 44.4% (1,137,455) / Johnson: 5.0% (129,451)

Clinton: 47.3% (1,212,209) / Trump: 44.4% (1,137,455) / Johnson: 5.0% (129,451)

Again, obvious from the get-go that if Johnson’s entire base puts themselves behind Trump, Trump would’ve won, but that’s not the whole story, obviously.

Johnson: 1% of polled Democrats & 3% of polled Republicans

Johnson: 1% of polled Democrats & 3% of polled Republicans

If Johnson’s 1% out of a 32% Democratic base (0.32% overall) votes for Clinton, Clinton’s votes would increase to 47.6%, while if his 3% of 24% Republicans (0.72%) votes for Trump, his votes would increase to 45.1%, still not enough to defeat Clinton. Only if at least 6% of Johnson’s Independents vote for Trump, can Trump win. I’m not that interested in speculating about that possibility, so…

Johnson confirmed not spoiler for CO.

New Mexico (with 95% of the votes in) — 5 votes

Clinton: 48.3% (380,724) / Trump: 40.0% (315,875) / Johnson: 9.3% (73,669)

Clinton: 48.3% (380,724) / Trump: 40.0% (315,875) / Johnson: 9.3% (73,669) / Stein: 1.2% (9,729)

Yet again, Johnson supporters could’ve swung the state in Trump’s favors if they all voted for him. But, again, that’s not the whole story.

(Added Stein supporters because apparently a few Republicans voted for her in NM, according to the exit polls.)

Johnson: 6% of polled Democrats & 6% of polled Republicans

Johnson: 6% of polled Democrats & 6% of polled Republicans / Stein: 1% of polled Democrats & 1% of polled Republicans

Johnson: 6% of 41% Democrats (2.46% overall), raises Clinton’s votes to 50.8%. 6% of 27% Republicans (1.62% overall), raises Trump’s votes to 41.6%). Still not enough to defeat Clinton. Not even with Independents. (16% of 32%, 5.12% –> 46.7% < 50.8%)

Stein supporters would’ve increased only Clinton’s score significantly (to 51.2%), while Trump’s would’ve remained relatively lagging (at 41.9% / 49%).

Johnson and Stein confirmed not spoilers for NM.

Minnesota (with 99% of the votes in) — 10 votes

Clinton: 46.9% (1,366,676) / Trump: 45.4% (1,322,891) / Johnson: 3.9% (112,944) / Stein: 1.3% (36,957)

Clinton: 46.9% (1,366,676) / Trump: 45.4% (1,322,891) / Johnson: 3.9% (112,944) / Stein: 1.3% (36,957)

Included Stein again this time because she also apparently has Republicans voting for her in this state.

Johnson: 2% of polled Democrats & 3% of polled Republicans / Stein: 1% of polled Democrats & 1% of polled Republicans

Johnson: 2% of polled Democrats & 3% of polled Republicans / Stein: 1% of polled Democrats & 1% of polled Republicans

Johnson: 2% of 37% Democrats (0.74% overall), Clinton’s votes will rise to 47.6%. 3% of 35% Republicans (1.05% overall), Trump’s vote will rise to 47.0% (if rounded up). Trump needs 3% more from the Independents to win.

Stein: 1% of Democrats (0.37% overall), Clinton’s votes will rise to 47.3% (or 48% if Johnson’s count is added). 1% of 35% Republicans (0.35% overall), Trump’s vote will rise to 45.8% (or 47.3% if Johnson’s count is added).

In either case, unless Trump has support from an Independent base, he can’t win.

Johnson and Stein confirmed not spoilers for MN.

Nevada (with 98% of the votes in) — 6 votes

Clinton: 47.9% (537,753) / Trump: 45.5% (511,319) / Johnson: 3.3% (37,299)

Clinton: 47.9% (537,753) / Trump: 45.5% (511,319) / Johnson: 3.3% (37,299)

Stein wasn’t even significant enough to appear on the polls. (Not that I’m particularly surprised about that.) Let’s take a look at Johnson.

Johnson: 1% of polled Republicans & 2% of polled Democrats

Johnson: 1% of polled Republicans & 2% of polled Democrats

1% of 36% Democrats (0.36%) will raise Clinton’s votes to 48.3%, while 2% of 28% Republicans (0.56%) will raise Trump’s votes to 46.1%, still not enough to defeat Clinton. Unless all of Johnson’s Independents decided to side with Trump, Trump had no chance of winning.

Johnson confirmed not spoiler for NV.


Summary: The only state Johnson could have swung in Trump’s favor is New Hampshire (4). Except in New Mexico, Johnson is a potential swing voter for Trump in all the other states mentioned here (Colorado, Nevada, Minnesota, and Maine), provided his Independent base decides to vote for him.

It seems that third parties did no better and no worse for Trump than they did for Clinton.

For more detailed conclusions (and my reasoning behind doing this), check the initial post in which I investigate all the red states for possible spoilers.

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