By Julia Azari, FiveThirtyEight.com, July 6th, 2016:
One possible result of the bizarre year we’re having in American politics — particularly the low popularity ratings of the two major candidates — is that third parties may benefit.
Polls this year show slight evidence that third-party candidates might have a stronger showing than usual. An ABC News/Washington Post poll on June 26 revealed that Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson and Green Party candidate Jill Stein received about 7 and 3 percent support, respectively, from voters presented with their names as alternatives. Although the winner-take-all nature of most states in the Electoral College makes it very difficult for third parties to win the White House, third-party candidates emerge periodically, and sometimes they may even influence the election outcome in a spoiler role.