Data suggests 3rd-party voters aren’t to blame for Trump’s election

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The nation and the world are stunned by Donald Trump’s victory in last night’s presidential election. I’ve already seen a lot of vitriol on social media being thrown at third-party voters for the impact they may have had on Trump’s improbable rise to the highest office in the United States. Do they deserve it? Let’s dig into the data.

A set of exit polls conducted by CBS News asked third-party voters (for Gary Johnson or Jill Stein) what they would have done if neither Johnson nor Stein had been an option in the election. 25 percent of Johnson supporters said they would have supported Clinton, while 15 percent said they would have supported Trump. A full 55 percent of Gary Johnson supporters said they wouldn’t have voted for a presidential candidate. The numbers are similar concerning Jill Stein: “about a quarter” said they would have supported Clinton, 14 percent Trump, and 61 percent said they wouldn’t have voted.

The following hypothetical scenario where Trump and Clinton were the only two choices for president is based on CBS’ exit polling being accurate and also on that exit polling applying somewhat evenly over all states in the country. Let’s take a look at how this hypothetical situation would have played out in the four closest swing states that ended up giving Donald Trump the presidency:

Florida
Actual results:
Donald Trump: 4,591,277 votes (49.12%)
Hillary Clinton: 4,462,414 votes (47.47%)
Gary Johnson: 204,826 votes (2.19%)
Jill Stein: 63,660 votes (0.68%)

Hypothetical result changes without Johnson or Stein:
Trump: +30,724 Johnson votes, +8,912 Stein votes
Clinton: +51,207 Johnson votes, +15,915 Stein votes
Didn’t vote at all: 112,654 Johnson voters, 38,833 Stein voters

Hypothetical results without Johnson or Stein:
Donald Trump: 4,630,913 votes (50.55%)
Hillary Clinton: 4,529,536 votes (49.45%)
Trump still wins.

Pennsylvania
Actual results:
Donald Trump: 2,912,351 votes (48.79%)
Hillary Clinton: 2,844,339 votes (47.65%)
Gary Johnson: 142,623 votes (2.39%)
Jill Stein: 48,998 votes (0.82%)

Hypothetical result changes without Johnson or Stein:
Trump: +21,393 Johnson votes, +6,860 Stein votes
Clinton: +35,656 Johnson votes, +12,246 Stein votes
Didn’t vote at all: 78,443 Johnson voters, 29,889 Stein voters

Hypothetical results without Johnson or Stein:
Donald Trump: 2,940,604 votes (50.41%)
Hillary Clinton: 2,892,241 votes (49.59%)
Trump still wins.

Michigan
Actual results:
Donald Trump: 2,260,106 votes (47.64%)
Hillary Clinton: 2,243,405 votes (47.28%)
Gary Johnson: 171,699 votes (3.62%)
Jill Stein: 51,103 votes (1.08%)

Hypothetical result changes without Johnson or Stein:
Trump: +25,754 Johnson votes, +7,154 Stein votes
Clinton: +42,925 Johnson votes, +12,776 Stein votes
Didn’t vote at all: 94,434 Johnson voters, 31,173 Stein voters

Hypothetical results without Johnson or Stein:
Donald Trump: 2,293,014 votes (49.93%)
Hillary Clinton: 2,299,106 votes (50.07%)
Hillary Clinton wins instead.

Wisconsin
Actual results:
Donald Trump: 1,407,401 votes (47.86%)
Hillary Clinton: 1,380,512 votes (46.95%)
Gary Johnson: 106,292 votes (3.61%)
Jill Stein: 30,957 votes (1.05%)

Hypothetical result changes without Johnson or Stein:
Donald Trump: +15,944 Johnson votes, +4,334 Stein votes
Hillary Clinton: +26,573 Johnson votes, +7,739 Stein votes
Didn’t vote at all: 58,461 Johnson voters, 18,884 Stein voters

Hypothetical results without Johnson or Stein: 2842503
Donald Trump: 1,427,679 votes (50.22%)
Hillary Clinton: 1,414,824 votes (49.78%)
Trump still wins.

Here’s the current Electoral College map, if all of the leads as of Wednesday morning hold:


Click the map to create your own at 270toWin.com

And here’s the map if Gary Johnson and Jill Stein weren’t options. Hillary Clinton flips Michigan, but it’s not enough to change the overall election result.


Click the map to create your own at 270toWin.com
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