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Pollster: Bernie voters ‘defecting’ to third party

(AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

(AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Hillary Clinton’s weekend wasn’t just bad for the obvious health-related reasons.

Pollster Gary Langer, who is conducting the polling for ABC News/Washington Post in this year’s election, released new data and analysis showing that third-party candidates are making her election victory less certain.

Libertarian presidential nominee Gary Johnson is on the ballot in all 50 states; Green nominee Jill Stein is on the ballot in more than 40 states. Langer believes the data shows both these candidates are pulling support away from Clinton — specifically pulling away former supporters of Senator Bernie Sanders.

“Clinton takes a slight hit from the presence of Johnson and Stein,” Langer said. “[I]t’s a 51-43 percent contest (Clinton +8) in a two-way matchup with Trump alone. That occurs mainly because of defections by Bernie Sanders supporters: Clinton wins 94 percent of them one-on-one vs. Trump, but just 77 percent of them with Johnson and Stein in the mix.” (emphasis added)

“Viewed another way, among Johnson and Stein supporters, Clinton leads Trump by 13 points in a two-way matchup,” Langer said.

What Langer said is apparent if you look at the polling for millennials. In his own polling, one-in-four voters under age 40 is supporting a third-party candidate. Johnson earns 17 percent of voters under age 40; Stein earns 8 percent. In the Red Alert Politics Millennial Poll Average, Johnson has nearly 15 percent of the vote and Stein has 7.3 percent.

This analysis confirms that if Johnson and/or Stein were added to the nationally televised debates, it would hurt Clinton more than Trump (more on that here). This could be why the national media ganged up on Johnson for not knowing what “Aleppo” was without context and off the top of his head. The question is: Will the Aleppo flub help Johnson (and thus hurt Clinton) by increasing his name identification?

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