Third Party impact on Presidential Election

Voting in Minnesota

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. --  We're just more than three weeks away from Election Day and there's already a large number of early voters in Minnesota, nearly 90,000 according to the Secretary of State's Office.

This is the first Presidential election in Minnesota where you don't need an excuse to vote.

Campaigns are trying to lock in voters now, so they can concentrate on the undecided voters and people thinking about a third party.

U.S. Senator Al Franken spoke in front of democrats in Minneapolis Saturday, urging them to vote and encouraging others to do the same.

"Work as hard as you can, as many hours as you can, contact as many people you can until Election Day and I'm confident we'll win," said Franken.

"People are hyperventilating about how passionate they are and because we're so polarized and because people are so hardened in their partisanship," said David Schultz, political science professor at Hamline University.

At the same time there are many undecided voters and people considering third party candidates like Jill Stein, of the Green Party and Gary Johnson, of the Libertarian Party.

"This year depending on what the perceptions are you could see either a downturn in third party voting as people are worried how their vote might affect the race or they might say, 'I don't like the two major candidates I'm just going to vote third party,''' said Schultz.

He says typically in a presidential race, about 5% of votes in Minnesota are for a third party candidate. Schultz doesn't seen that changing much come November.

"In really recent history it was Ross Perot's 1992 candidacy that's sort of like the last major third party candidate who had a serious impact on American politics," said Schultz.

But who should be more scared about the third party vote in 2016? Trump or Clinton?

"Nationwide, it's probably going to be Clinton at this point because I think there's evidence again that the people who are more likely to be voting third party especially young millennials are people who would more likely than not vote Clinton," said Schultz.

However, he does say third party votes in Arizona and New Mexico could hurt Trump.


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