STUMP » Articles » Ballot Access vs. Debate Access: A Look at the Numbers » 26 August 2016, 12:36

Where Stu & MP spout off about everything.

Ballot Access vs. Debate Access: A Look at the Numbers  


26 August 2016, 12:36

There has been some made over Trump possibly not being on the Minnesota ballot:

Will Minnesotans vote for Donald Trump in November? Perhaps … if they can find him on the ballot. At least as of this morning, Trump’s name does not appear as one of the confirmed ballot choices in the state — and that has state Republican officials scrambling ahead of Monday’s deadline

Look. Minnesota is not in play for Trump, even if they did once elect Jesse Ventura as governor. I decided to look at Minnesota electoral college results and this was the last time they went Red:


I remember this election, because I found the results funny:

I don’t care if Mondale was from Minnesota. The Reagan re-election was not a close thing. If the state didn’t go for Reagan 32 years ago, they’re not going for Trump now. It doesn’t really matter if Trump is on that ballot. I’m a conservative in New York, so I know political futility.

It sounds as if Trump will be on the Minnesota ballot, but there may be a dispute.


But let’s ignore Trump for right now (I know it’s tough). What about the third-party candidates?

Thanks to Ballot Access News, by Richard Winger, I have info I can graph.

As of the August 1 newsletter, the Libertarian Party (candidate: Gary Johnson) is on the ballot in 36 states, the Green Party (candidate: Jill Stein) is on the ballot in 23 states, the Constitution Party (candidate: Darrell Castle) is on the ballot in 18 states, and independent candidate Rocky De La Fuente is on the ballot in 4 states.

But what does that mean?

Let’s take a look.

But that doesn’t really tell me the potential electoral votes each of these candidates could get.

Now there’s a thing. To win the election outright, a candidate needs 270 electoral votes.

Both Gary Johnson (already on ballot of states representing 370 electoral votes) and Jill Stein (325 electoral votes) are well beyond that theoretical threshhold — and I’m sure they’ll be on more ballots by Election Day.

The underlying spreadsheet for those graphs are here.


Thing is, both Stein and Johnson are not being invited to the Presidential Debates, as of right now. I’m going to concentrate on Johnson, for reasons you can see above (he’s on more state ballots) and some reasons you’ll see below.

A piece on Johnson being blocked from the debates:

When the Commission on Presidential Debates on Monday finalized its rules for determining which candidates get invited to this fall’s headline debates, it suddenly made Libertarian dark-horse candidate Gary Johnson’s job a whole lot harder.

Johnson, a former Republican who has been picking up voters disaffected by Donald Trump, has had his eye on winning a debate slot all summer. Though he has conceded that “extraordinary things have to happen” for him to win, it’s the debates that matter for him: If he can get onstage, his strategists think, he has a chance to upset a race that has left a huge number of Americans unhappy with their choices.

He already knew the threshold for a debate invitation: a 15 percent showing in polls, a hurdle no third-party candidate has overcome since the commission set the bar in the 2000 campaign. Johnson harbors hope of being the first. But the combination of the polls the commission just announced it will use to make the cut — and the decision of most of the sponsoring media outlets to include both Johnson and Green Party nominee Jill Stein in those polls — effectively made the bar tougher for him to clear. With Stein siphoning off some of the anti-establishment vote he’s counting on, Johnson is probably going to end up watching the debates at home.

One may think it odd to say that the Libertarian candidate is losing polling numbers to the Green, but you got to understand that Gary Johnson is for a carbon tax, which is something that the Greens like. (Disclosure: I used to be a Libertarian Party member…. a very long time ago. I’ve been a registered Republican since 2004, iirc).

People want Johnson in the debate:

Poll: Majority of voters want Johnson on debate stage

The majority of American voters want to see Libertarian Party nominee Gary Johnson participate in the presidential debates, a new poll released Thursday shows.

The Quinnipiac University poll shows 62 percent of likely voters nationally say Johnson should be included in the debates this year.

Even though Johnson isn’t getting all the free press that either Trump or Clinton get, his poll numbers have been pretty steady.:

Gary Johnson doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. In recent elections, third-party candidates have tended to lose support as Election Day approaches. But the Libertarian Party presidential nominee and former New Mexico governor is holding steady in the polls, and we’ve reached a point in the race at which past third-party candidates had already started to see their support nose-dive.

Johnson is pulling in about 9 percent in the national polls, according to the FiveThirtyEight polls-only average. And his share in national polls has not fallen as we’ve gotten closer to the election. Indeed, Johnson’s support right now is higher than many other viable third-party candidates’ at a similar point in campaigns since 1948.

I can understand why either Trump or Clinton would want to keep Johnson off the stage. So many people hate/despise/whatever both the “mainstream” candidates, they sure as hell don’t need a third person up there looking like a reasonable option.

And he will likely be an option in most states.

Just something to chew on.


And here are some of my linkers of the past week:

And I noticed more hits from my faculty page – must be my new students. Howdy students! See you Monday!

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