Third-Party Votes Would Impact Tighter Races

Based on current polling data (9/6), several states are neck-and-neck between Trump and Clinton, with Clinton holding a small lead over Trump.  This means that if the election were held today, Clinton would win those electoral votes.  Those states (with Clinton’s current lead and electoral votes in parentheses) include,

  • Georgia (1%, 15)
  • North Carolina (1%, 15)
  • Ohio (2%, 20)
  • Nevada (3%,5)
  • Florida (4%, 27)
  • Wisconsin (5%, 10)
  • Michigan (6%,17)
  • Pennsylvania (6%, 21)

In tighter races, the impact of the third-party vote should have a greater influence on the results, right?

Why wonder about it!?  Let’s play “what-if.”

What-if The Impact of the Third Party Vote Favors Trump in a Few of These States?

Here’s what would have to be true for another party, such as the Libertarian Party, to win enough popular votes in enough states to turn current “Clinton” states to “Trump” states.  You’d have to believe that the votes for the Libertarian Party hurt Clinton and help Trump.  In our model, currently the impact favors Clinton.  That would have to change.

So we adjusted the key driver “Percentage of Third Party Votes That Help/Hurt Clinton” downward by increments, until we flipped the results from Clinton to Trump.

By clicking on the interactive graphic, you will see how easy it is to adjust these drivers.  If you need a little help, click the image below.

How to Change Drivers

How to Change Drivers

We see that the following states would have to flip in order to shift the election to Trump:

  • Georgia (decrease third party impact driver that favors Clinton by 1%) – Trump nets 15 electoral votes
  • North Carolina (-1.5%) – Trump nets 15 electoral votes
  • Ohio (-2%) – Trump nets 20 electoral votes
  • Nevada (-2%) – Trump nets 5 electoral votes
  • Florida (-2.5%) – Trump nets 27 electoral votes
  • Wisconsin (-3%) – Trump nets 10 electoral votes

If this scenario plays out–based on current data and if nothing else changes–Trump and Clinton would be tied, each earning 269 electoral votes.

A candidate needs 270 to win, meaning Trump must win Michigan or Pennsylvania to get him over 270.  As we’ve modeled this scenario, Michigan flips (-3.5%) giving Trump 17 additional electoral votes and a 291 to 257 victory.

Do you think this is possible?  Do you think it is probable?  That’s up to you to decide.

There are other possible scenarios, to be sure .  Check out our assumptions yourself and use it to create your own.