Election 2016

Partisan Voters Lining Up Behind Clinton, Trump, But Don't Seem to Like Them Very Much

Think third-party candidates help throw the election to Clinton? Think again.

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Clinton and Trump
Credit: DonkeyHotey / photo on flickr

Just because many Americans don't like either of the main party candidates doesn't mean they're not preparing to vote the way they always vote. The latest national poll from Public Polling Policy (PPP) has an equal number of registered Democrats and Republicans lining up behind their likely nominees (Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump) despite the fact that both candidates are seen unfavorably.

PPP notes that registered Democrats and Republicans are falling into line. Of the voters who are party members, 78 percent in both the GOP and the Democratic Party would vote for Trump or Clinton, respectively. Despite the #NeverTrump movement, a slightly greater percentage of Democrats (9 percent) say they won't vote for Clinton than the percentage of Republicans (7 percent) who say they won't vote for Trump. For each candidate, 21 percent of the party's voters say they "would not be comfortable" with their frontrunner as the nominee. Clinton is viewed unfavorably by 55 percent of those polled, and Trump is viewed unfavorably by 61 percent.

Mind you, one of the outcomes of the Trump nomination (contributing to current party affiliation trends) may be Republicans leaving the party. So that may explain why these polls have Clinton winning the election 42-38 percent. There are more registered Democrats than Republicans. For the poll, 43 percent identified as Democrat and 36 percent as Republican.

But there are more independent voters now than members of either party, so where does that leave third-party candidates? PPP included Gov. Gary Johnson, the Libertarian Party candidate in 2012, and Jill Stein, Green Party candidate from 2012. Johnson gets 4 percent of the vote in this poll and Stein 2 percent. A Monmouth University poll from March had Johnson at 11 percent.

PPP's poll is a bit iffy (the liberal-leaning firm's methodology has its critics). As a joke it asks voters whether they have a higher opinion of Trump compared to detestable things like root canals, lice, and Nickelback, but it doesn't ask the same about Clinton. (If you care, Trump is preferable to hemorrhoids and cockroaches but little else.)

But it also takes note of who third party candidates may be pulling votes from. When Johnson and Stein are left out, Clinton's lead over Trump actually widens. Third party candidates in this poll are pulling more from Clinton than Trump. Note that the poll has both a greater number of registered Democrats and Republicans than independent or unaffiliated voters. In reality, there are now greater number of independent voters than members of either party. This poll doesn't accurately reflect the ratio of party membership in the voter population. Though this doesn't necessarily mean independents won't vote for the major parties, it does mean we should be careful of drawing too much from Johnson's and Stein's small poll numbers. This may be a useful poll in analyzing partisan loyalty, but be wary of those third-party figures.

Check out the poll here.

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  1. Not liking politicians very much is a good thing.

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  3. Silly Shackford, Nickelback can’t be president for the same reason that Ted Cruz couldn’t: Canadian.

  4. In the VA governor’s race in 2014, exit polls showed that the Libertarian candidate drew more Democrats than Republicans. To flip the election, you have to do more than just draw votes. You have to draw more votes from one side than the margin of victory. That could happen this year but I seriously doubt it.

    1. More votes from the losing side than the margin of victory.

  5. “Just because many Americans don’t like either of the main party candidates doesn’t mean they’re not preparing to vote the way they always vote. The latest national poll from Public Polling Policy (PPP) has an equal number of registered Democrats and Republicans lining up behind their likely nominees (Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump) despite the fact that both candidates are seen unfavorably.”

    Therein lies the problem. People voting for people who they don’t like is not a good thing.

    Maybe citizens need to do what most college/university students do/did whenever an election took place on campus: Ignore and don’t vote. For me, the “scandals” and naked stupid political power plays by middling minds I wouldn’t even share a drink with let alone place any kind of political trust was grotesque and fully deserve (d) to be ignored.

    1. I don’t know. I am okay with the public loathing their elected leaders. I would be a lot more worried about either of them if I thought the majority of the country really liked and supported them.

      1. The problem is that whether the majority of the country likes and supports the eventual winner, they’ll act like they’ve just gotten some kind of “mandate from the masses.” I really don’t think our so called leaders really care if the peasants like them anymore. They pretty much treat winning elections like the kings of old treated “divine right.” The commoners can suck it for all they care.

    2. It’s not a question of who they will vote for, but who shows up.

  6. Again, the one road open is this… Rand Paul resigns from the GOP, and gets nominated by Libertarian Party.

    It’s a third party that is on all state ballots now. It would be a candidate with name recognition across the country. And it’s the one third party candidate with a chance of denying 270 electoral college votes to any one candidate. Johnson won’t be able to do that.

    I am more convinced that as time goes by more House GOP members will grow dissatisfied with Trump, and would then throw their support to Paul. He could actually win it if it goes to the House.

    Of course it would take courage and principle for Paul to do it.

    1. Wow, that’s actually a well-thought-out, clever idea!

      1. It’s a great idea. I’m amazed there isn’t a movement by Libertarians to push it forward. It’s the only third party option with a chance of success.

      2. To sabotage liberty, yes.

        The fact of the matter is that a President Rand would be an ineffective 1 term president that would have 0 effect on the civil service.

        In the senate, if he keeps his nose clean, he can be there for decades and have lasting influence on legislation.

        1. Are you saying you would rather have Senator Paul than President Paul? The Senator would accomplish more?

            1. Dream big, not small. A better chance at getting a libertarian(ish) President elected may not come your way. You may be shocked at how many votes Paul would attract from both parties in this election.

              1. Fantasizing that a fuhrer will take over and right the wrongs in this country is the opposite of dreaming big, Joe. It’s what small pathetic people do.

          1. Are you saying you would rather have Senator Paul than President Paul? The Senator would accomplish more?

            I think a strong case can be made so. Tenure in the Senate (or in the House) leads to important Committee positions, and therein lies the ability to set the policy agenda. You can have an enormous amount of power with significantly less spotlight than the presidency commands. Paul Ryan knew this, which is why he was content to stay in Ways & Means and initially resisted the Speaker position.

      3. I don’t know how likely it is to happen, given all the variables, but it’s well-considered and well supported.

      4. straight outta the Clinton playbook for winning with less than a majority. joe’s getting nervous.

    2. Paul-Amash 2016: You’ve heard of us.

      1. And that’s about it.

        People on this board seem to forget that during the primary, Rand exuded all the charisma of a dead trout. He won’t draw voters in the general any better than he did in the primary.

    3. Earth to Pinhead. This is the Earth calling the Pinhead.

      I know you really, really, really like Paul. I get it. But, from the other 95% of us, no one will give Paul aNY attention because Paul is a kook and so was his dad.

      Gary Johnson is a kook, too, but for all the reasons you don’t like Johnson, these are the reasons the other 95% of us might be willing to pay attention to him.

      That, and Johnson has the whole “I was a governor” thing going for him.

    4. Sure! Why not have the Libertarian party represented by a Republican, so we can keep the Democrat who represents the Republicans form beating the Authoritarian that represents the Democrats? Its brilliant..ish.

  7. Think third party candidates help throw the election to Clinton? Think again.

    LOL, Shackford. You know that libertarians are going to get blamed whoever wins.

    1. Hell, I’m already getting blamed in some circles, even though I declared my support from the Libertarian nominee before the primaries where even getting started. When I ask why they think their candidate can’t win without the support of people that don’t vote republican anyways, I just get a blank stare, followed by and angry grunt.

  8. I notice that the poll lists two people who *haven’t* been nominated by their respective parties – Johnson (Libertarian) and Stein (Green), but it *doesn’t* list Darrell Castle, who has actually been nominated by a third party (Constitution).

    Garbage in, garbage out.

    1. Johnson and Stein are the most likely nominees, and the Libertarian Party is the only party on the ballot in all 50 states. Not sure how many states the Green and the Constitution Party are on the ballot in. I suppose one could argue that including the Green party in the poll was stupid, given that they’re not on the ballot in every state, but I suspect the pollsters just wanted a “left wing” 3rd party to balance out the “right wing” Libertarian Party. Or something, who knows. Polls are stupid.

      1. Green’s are on 37. Mostly blue states.

        If I was a Green activist, I would nominate Bernie in a heartbeat. And I personally love Jill Stein.

  9. Elections are no longer about love, or even like. They’re almost entirely about hate, as the country continues dividing itself into warring camps.

    Obama has done much to help this process along, with his carefully calculated and intentional divisiveness.

    1. You mean Obama’s opponents, *they’re* the divisive ones, Obama wants everyone to be united, his opponents divisively refuse his leadership!

      1. I realize now that I’m just a racist who needs to accept that I don’t like Obama because of my white supremacy /pens Salon article

        1. I have it on good authority (AmSoc) that we libertarians were actually pro-Iraq War for the entirety of the Bush years because we just hate Muslims so damned much and love indiscriminate killing, so long as it’s brown people, but when Obama was elected, our racism against him and the threats he posed to our white privilege was so strong that it overcame our love of war.

          1. *facepalm*

            That tardo actually said that?! I mean, I’m not surprised. Nothing that walking diaper stain says could surprise me at this point.

            1. You can say that, again!

              1. It’s worthy of multiple facepalms.

          2. *facepalm*

            That tardo actually said that?! I mean, I’m not surprised. Nothing that walking diaper stain says could surprise me at this point.

      2. I divisively refuse anybody’s leadership.
        And I especially resent it when that person’s entire goal is to “lead” me and other adults.

        It also doesn’t matter to me at all what kind of letter appears after the pol’s name. They should all have a PHD after their names anyway — for Power-Hungry Douche.

        1. Yeah aren’t they supposed to “serve”?

    2. Its almost as if the country would be better off, splitting into smaller more manageable and culturally homogeneous States.

  10. Think third party candidates help throw the election to Clinton? Think again.

    No, I think Clinton was always going to win regardless of what third parties do.

    Well, except for a few months ago when Mike Bloomberg was rumored to be considering a run. Maybe he could have pulled enough votes from progs who don’t think Clinton is anti-gun enough, and possibly given the Repubs a chance.

  11. But there are more independent voters now than members of either party, so where does that leave third-party candidates?

    The sportos, the motorheads, geeks, sluts, bloods, waistoids, dweebies, dickheads… the independents are a fractured group of voter interests. You can’t name a single candidate they’re all going to adore.

    1. You’re a righteous dude.

    2. Yeah, but it’s amazing what a finsky will do for a guy’s attitude!

  12. A Monmouth University poll from March had Johnson at 11 percent.

    I seem to recall Gary Johnson getting similar numbers around this time in 2012, and then he wound up getting barely 1%. I’ll be impressed if he gets more than 5% this time around. Hell, a lot of BernVictims may end up voting for Stein and thereby give the Green party a higher vote total than Johnson (assuming he even ends up being the LP nominee*). B-b-but… LIBERTARIAN MOMENT!

    *Actually I wouldn’t be surprised if the LP takes this opportunity to look like the only “adults in the room” by nominating someone with at least some executive governing experience (something neither Trump or Clinton can say) and instead plays “purity test” games and nominates McAfee, Peterson, or some nutjob no one’s ever heard of (Starchild for president! Woot!). IOW, they’ll probably end up shooting themselves in the dick.

    1. The problem is that saying you support someone is not the same as showing up to vote. If a voter supports Johnson because he dislikes Trump and Hillary, chances are he just doesn’t vote. Some will show up and vote for Johnson because they don’t like the other two but most just won’t vote. So those poll numbers are likely pretty meaningless.

      1. Agreed, and even if the poll was asking “do you plan to VOTE for [insert 3rd party candidate here]” there’s plenty of time for all the “don’t throw your vote away/ most important election EVAR/ we can’t let that evil cunt from the other TEAM win” messages to sway people from voting 3rd party and “jump on the team and come on in for the big win.”

        That’s the main reason why I’m so pessimistic about Johnson’s chances.

  13. Scott, rather than just complain about how bad the two candidates are, you and Reason ought to start a “draft Rand as Libertarian candidate” movement. Given all the negatives and unpredictability of the current race, Rand Paul would have an actual chance of getting the election thrown to the House and then winning.

    I know complaining is easier. But the nation turns its lonely eyes to you. And who knows…maybe Rand.

    1. I know complaining is easier.

      This a real hoot coming from a whiny little bitchboy like you, joe.

    2. I have a hard time seeing Paul pulling enough warm bodies to win multiple states outright. Where are those votes coming from other than the 5% he was pulling within the Republican, plus Gary’s 1%? Not Bernie Sanders people. Not moderate Democrats. Not Romney/Bush types. Maybe Ted Cruz supporters, but I’m skeptical of even that.

      Yes, he’d get more votes than Johnson, but would severely hurt his career and still lose.

  14. Just because many Americans don’t like either of the main party candidates…

    Check your premise. Millions of Americans have come out of the woodwork to vote for Donald Trump because they ‘like’ him. Do they agree with him on this or that politcal issue? Fuck if I know. Shut up for a moment and acknowledge the data. Republican primary turnout votes are up are way up this election year.

    1. Yeah, The Donald inspires a good deal of hate, but his and Bernie’s supporters are, as far as I can tell, the only people energized about this race. If elections come down to turnout, as the last three or four cycles indicate, Trump has a clear edge over Hillary.

    2. These two pieces of information do not contradict each other at all the way you seem to think they do.

      1. Sort of like how Hillary and Trump aren’t nearly as incompatible as most people think.

  15. What the poll told me is another 11% of the “undecided” voting stock in this corporation is up for grabs. The sourpuss Dems believe they’ve already been knocked out by one of the Green-eyed Econazis (not election fraud). No use talking to them as they fear those spoiler votes.
    Sourpuss Republicans of the Robert Lewis Dear “Warrior For the Babies” faction will of course vote Prohibition, Tea or Constitution party (identical prohibitionist antichoice clones). Nothing else matters to them, including being alive (and it’s hard to blame them). But the remaining 8% added to the 3% we got in the mid-terms could net us 11% provided we stick up for individual rights instead of futile pandering to woman-menacers. The LP deficit is on the female side of the gender gap. Threatening women’s health or rushing to increase their disadvantage in this dangerously overpopulated mixed economy will not make us the friends we need. And with friends like Marco Rubio, Jerry Falwell, Jimmy Swaggart, Randall Paul, Austin Petersen and Robert Lewis Dear… who needs enemies?

  16. I keep going to my dentist, even though I live 150 miles away, because when he did a root canal (when I lived closer), I practically fell asleep — he had to remind me several times to stay alert. It wasn’t the meds (novacaine only, no gas), it was just he was so smooth. So yeh, I’d rather have a root canal than any of the candidates.

    Although Bernie with a GOP congress, or Trump with a Dem congress, would provide lots of entertainment. Hillary would be bad from every angle.

    1. or Trump with a Dem congress,

      Except that, despite the hate he inspires in the Left, Trump is basically a ’90s-era Democrat himself.

      Granted, the party has more drastically to the left since then…

      1. No, you’re right, I was being too glib. That’s not nearly an entertaining combo as Bernie + GOP Congress.

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    Statists gonna state.

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  21. The LP should forget trying to get Dems and Reps and focus solely on Independents.

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