[Marxism] Poll Finds Opening for Third-Party Candidates as Clinton, Trump Remain Unpopular

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Tue Jun 28 05:55:03 MDT 2016

WSJ, June 28 2016
Poll Finds Opening for Third-Party Candidates as Clinton, Trump Remain 
Deep dislike for the two leading candidates could scramble the race as 
some voters seek alternatives


Deep dislike for the two leading presidential candidates is creating an 
opening for third-party hopefuls, potentially scrambling the race as 
voters cast about for alternatives, a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News 
poll shows.

With majorities of registered voters holding negative views of Democrat 
Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump, two other candidates 
notched a level of support that could prove meaningful in a tight race.

Libertarian Gary Johnson and Green Party candidate Jill Stein together 
drew backing from 16% of the 1,000 people surveyed. When voters had the 
option of choosing the third-party candidates, Mrs. Clinton’s lead over 
Mr. Trump dropped from 5 percentage points to 1 point.

The presence of third-party candidates on the ballot could add a measure 
of unpredictability to the election. The Libertarian Party expects to be 
on the ballot in all 50 states, the Green Party in at least 
three-quarters of states.

Mrs. Clinton led Mr. Trump by 46% to 41% when voters were asked which of 
the two they favored. Mrs. Clinton led by only a single point, 39% to 
38%, when voters could also choose Mr. Johnson or Ms. Stein.

On the four-candidate ballot, some 83% of those who favored Mrs. Clinton 
in a two-way race stuck with her as their preference, while 13% split 
off and threw their support to Mr. Johnson or Ms. Stein.

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton share unusually high negative ratings 
from voters according to a new WSJ/NBC News poll. The unprecedented 
pessimism is creating a highly polarized dynamic among voters. Photo: AP
Given the same choices, 89% of Trump voters stayed loyal to him, while 
9% moved to Mr. Johnson or Ms. Stein.

The poll also shows that independent voters could be an important factor 
in the election. Polling in the fall of 2012 found that only 11% of 
independents favored third-party candidates in that presidential race, 
compared with 35% in the new Journal/NBC News survey, which was 
conducted June 19-23.

Indeed, Mr. Johnson outpaced Mrs. Clinton among independents, 23% to 
15%, in the new poll.

Those whose views on the race haven’t hardened seem open to choosing Mr. 
Johnson or Ms. Stein. These “persuadable” voters comprised nearly three 
in 10 of those surveyed.

Of them, 28% leaned toward Mr. Trump and 25% toward Mrs. Clinton. Some 
21% favored Mr. Johnson and 12% went for Ms. Stein.

Pollsters cautioned that voters are more apt in the summer before an 
election to say they will back third-party candidates. When the race 
heats up in the fall, they often revert to the major-party contenders.

Yet the 2016 presidential race has often defied conventional thinking. 
One difference between this election and past ones is the unpopularity 
of the two main candidates.

Some 55% of voters said in the new survey that they saw Mrs. Clinton in 
a negative light. For Mr. Trump, the figure was 60%. The ratings are 
worse than those of any Republican or Democratic nominee dating to 1992.

When asked if they backed Mr. Trump or Mrs. Clinton in the general 
election, 9% told the interviewers that they would vote for neither.

The poll suggests that voters feel little personal connection to either 
candidate. Asked if they shared Mrs. Clinton’s values, 36% said yes 
while 61% said no. Only 30% said they shared Mr. Trump’s values, 
compared with 68% who said they didn’t. Those numbers are far worse than 
for any of the Republican and Democratic nominees in 2008 and 2012.

On this measure, Mrs. Clinton has lost ground compared with her first 
presidential bid, in 2008. In April of that year, voters were evenly 
split on the question of whether they shared her values.

Fred Yang, a Democratic pollster who conducted the Journal/NBC News 
survey with Republican Bill McInturff, said: “This really will be an 
election in which voters will be holding their noses.”

Mr. McInturff said: “Given the historic dissatisfaction with the two 
major-party candidates, there’s an opening for a larger share of the 
vote for the third- and fourth-party candidates than we’ve seen since 
[Ross] Perot.”

Running as an independent in 1992, Mr. Perot captured 19% of the vote, 
finishing behind Republican President George H.W. Bush and then-Arkansas 
Gov. Bill Clinton, who won the election. Mr. Perot ran again in 1996 and 
finished with 8% of the vote.

The poll had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.

Write to Peter Nicholas at peter.nicholas at wsj.com

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