Third-party voters played a key role in election results

A voter casts a ballot behind a curtain at Smelser Town Hall, Nov. 8, 2016, in Georgetown, Wis. (Photo by Nicki Kohl/Telegraph Herald/AP)
A voter casts a ballot behind a curtain at Smelser Town Hall, Nov. 8, 2016, in Georgetown, Wis.
Photo by Nicki Kohl/Telegraph Herald/AP

Third-party voters played a key role in election results

11/09/16 10:47 AM
As of this minute, there are still a handful of states that haven’t been officially called by NBC News, though their outcomes won’t change the result of the presidential election. If the current vote tallies hold, six states – mostly in the Midwest – that voted for President Obama twice switched this year, turning “red” in support of Donald Trump.

But taking a closer look at the outcomes, it’s hard not to notice the importance of third-party voters and the impact they had on the outcome.

In Florida, Hillary Clinton lost by about 1.4% of the vote – but if Jill Stein’s supporters and half of Gary Johnson’s backers had voted Democratic, Trump would have lost the state.

Similarly, in Pennsylvania, Clinton lost by about 1.1% of the vote – but if Jill Stein’s supporters and half of Gary Johnson’s backers had voted Democratic, Trump would have lost the state.

In Wisconsin, Clinton lost by about 1% of the vote – but if Stein’s supporters had voted Democratic, Trump would have lost the state.

In Michigan, Clinton appears to be on track to lose by about 0.3% of the vote – but if half of Stein’s supporters had voted Democratic, Trump would have lost the state.

To be sure, this doesn’t apply everywhere. In North Carolina, for example, where Clinton was favored to win, Jill Stein wasn’t even on the ballot, and Gary Johnson’s vote totals were smaller than Trump’s margin of victory. Similarly, third-party voters couldn’t have swung Ohio or Iowa, two other states that President Obama carried twice ahead of Trump’s victory.

But it’s nevertheless true that in Florida, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan, third-party voters had an enormous, Nader-like impact – had those states gone the other way, Clinton would be president-elect today, not Trump.



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