The Latest National Presidential Poll Debunks Argument That Green Party Voters are Privileged

On October 31st, a Politico poll was released that shows Hillary Clinton leading Donald Trump by three percentage points in a four-way race. More importantly, Gary Johnson has 7% support and Jill Stein has 5% support (specifically 5.02%, meaning that the figure is not rounded up). Both those percentages are enough to guarantee those two parties millions of dollars in election funding until 2020, which would be a huge win for both parties and make 2020 a lot more competitive while also improving significantly their chances at competing in local elections.

What I’m going to look at here is the demographic breakdown of support for Jill Stein of the Green Party. Two arguments against voting for the Green Party are that “Green Party voters are just privileged” and “third parties just spoil elections for Democrats.” Here’s why both of those arguments are wrong (go to pages 117–19 of this PDF for a full statistical breakdown of the four-way race):

  • Party and gender-wise, Stein polls the highest among independent women (10%).
  • Ethnicity-wise, while the highest volume of Stein’s supporters is among white voters (72 of 89 total Stein voters), she garners 5% of the white vote, with 5% of the black vote and 8% each of the Hispanic (as noted in the data instead of Latinx) and Other vote.
  • 12% of voters 18–29 years old support Jill Stein, putting her in third place out of four, with Trump pulling 23% and Clinton pulling 47%.
  • Income-wise, Stein has 5% support of people making less than 50K a year and 6% support of people making between 50–100K a year. Only 2% of voters making more than that support Stein. Hillary Clinton leads all candidates in this last category.
  • Religion-wise, Stein polls highest among non-religious and non-Christian voters, pulling 7 or 8% from each of these categories. In sum, 3% of Christians support Stein, while 8% of non-Christians support Stein, with a majority of those polled identifying as Christian.
  • When dividing the country into four regions, Stein’s support is as follows: Northeast: 4%, Midwest: 5%, South: 4%, West: 8%. Stein’s highest level of support is in the West, where Clinton is defeating Trump handily.
  • Stein gets 5% support in each of the rural, urban, and suburban categories, with suburban voters forming the plurality of those polled.
  • Issues-wise, Stein has her highest percentage of support among those for whom energy (16%) and education (7%) are the most important issues. Foreign policy is not explicitly mentioned as an issue, but Stein pulls 6% support from those who offered a choice not listed among the given issues.
  • Stein has 6% support from blue-collar workers, compared to 5% from white-collar workers and 4% from those who do not know how they identify or are not employed.
  • Finally, when combining votes “pulled away” from Clinton and Trump (a flawed concept that assumes candidates are entitled to votes instead of earning them and also fails to account for Democrats and Republicans who vote for the opposite major party, but it was polled anyway), Johnson and Stein voters “pull” a combined 74 votes from Clinton and 66 from Trump. While this would hypothetically be a net gain of 8 votes for Trump, it is not enough to swing the popular vote the other way, as Clinton would still be winning by two percentage points as opposed to three. Even taking into account the 25 undecided voters, if all of those went to Trump, Clinton would still be winning the popular vote by one percentage point.

In sum, arguments about privilege and spoilers are not based in the present data that consists of the the most in-depth demographic breakdown of a national poll in this election cycle. Those arguments have been confirmed to be smear tactics to shame third party voters into accepting an outcome in Donald Trump winning that will not happen based on the data.

Vote your conscience and don’t listen to people who harass you.

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