Way down in the crosstabs of CNN's latest presidential poll, we learn how voters who preferred Bernie Sanders to Hillary Clinton say they're most likely to vote in November. A clear majority, 69 percent, favor Clinton. Jill Stein of the Green Party is in second place, with 13 percent. Gary Johnson of the Libertarian Party is third, at 10 percent. Donald Trump brings up the rear, with just three percent of the total—the same as "other." That's quite a contrast with how things looked back in June, when Sanders had not yet endorsed his rival and the conventions were still in the future. Back then a Bloomberg poll of Bernie backers had 55 percent supporting Clinton, 22 percent endorsing Trump, and 18 percent leaning toward Johnson.
Now, there are a number of ways that these two surveys are not an apples-to-apples comparison, starting with the fact that the Bloomberg pollsters didn't ask about Jill Stein. Also, those CNN results have an 8 percent margin of error. Still: The difference between 22 and 3 is pretty huge (*).
But the most interesting thing for me isn't that Clinton's numbers went up and Trump's went down. Most of us expected that to happen. The interesting thing is that the size of the segment saying they'll vote third-party has stayed pretty stable. When the Bloomberg results came out, I pointed out that Johnson's 18 percent was probably inflated somewhat by people who wanted a third option but were more likely to go for Jill Stein. Her platform, after all, is a lot closer to Sanders' than Johnson's is. Add her to the mix, and the third-party total goes up a bit while Johnson's total goes down a bit; if a June poll had included both of the major-minor candidates, I would not be surprised if it had produced the same results. The number of Sanders/Trump voters may be small, but the share of Sanders voters who feel alienated from both of the big parties' nominees doesn't seem to be small at all.
(* Or "yuuuuuuge," if you're into jokes that have gotten kinda tired.)