2016 Presidential Polls: How Do Gary Johnson & Jill Stein Poll?

jill stein, gary johnson

Jill Stein and Gary Johnson. (Getty)

Third-party candidates Gary Johnson and Jill Stein have been left out of the first presidential debate.

The Commission on Presidential Debates says they didn’t average high enough in five recent presidential polls.

Specifically, the commission said Hillary Clinton averaged 43 percent, Donald Trump averaged 40.4 percent, Johnson averaged 8.4 percent, and Stein averaged 3.2 percent, according to CNN. A candidate needs to average at least 15 percent in recent presidential polls to qualify.

NPR said Johnson had the best chance to make the debate stage as he is polling higher than Stein and will be on the ballot in all 50 states, “the first third-party candidate to do so in 20 years since independent billionaire Ross Perot.” But he didn’t make the cut, either. In a campaign statement, Johnson criticized the decision.

CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 23:  Libertarian Party presidential candidate Gary Johnson makes a point during a debate hosted by the Free and Equal Elections Foundation and moderated by former CNN talk-show host Larry King on October 23, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois. The 90-minute debate held at the Chicago Hilton hotel featured presidential candidates from the Green Party, Libertarian Party, Constitution Party and Justice Party.  (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Gary Johnson.

What do the last national polls show in detail when it comes to Johnson, the Libertarian, and Stein, the Green Party nominee? After all, voters frequently express their displeasure with both major party nominees in polling. Have Johnson and Stein gained any traction at all?

Some observers believe that Johnson and Stein draw more from Clinton than they do from Trump. There’s some evidence to back that up. National Review says Clinton does worse in almost every national poll that is a four-way match up instead of head-to-head.

Indeed, the RealClearPolitics averages of national presidential polls shows that Johnson’s support has stayed pretty much around the 8 percentage point for months. However, he hit a high point of 9.2 percent on September 12; that’s about the same time that the national polls began to tighten to a virtual tie, with Trump gaining support and Clinton losing it. The RealClearPolitics polling average shows Clinton with a 1.1 percent lead, but that’s down.

In contrast, Stein’s high point of 4.8 percent came in June, according to RealClearPolitics polling averages.

Johnson’s high mark in the last 10 polls was 13 percent in a Quinnipiac poll taken September 8 to September 13. Stein’s high mark in the last 10 presidential polls was 4 percent, which she registered in three of the last 10 polls.

Here’s what you need to know about the last five presidential polls to include Johnson and Stein:

Fox News

Clinton 41%
Trump 40%
Johnson 8
Stein 3

The Fox News poll showed a virtual tie between Trump and Clinton and was conducted September 11 to September 14.

In a two-way match up, though, Trump does slightly better in this poll than in a four-way match up. This was one of the first national polls to encompass the period of Hillary Clinton’s medical episode on the September 11 anniversary.

CBS Times/NY Times

Clinton 42%
Trump 42%
Johnson 8
Stein 4

The CBS News/New York Times poll also showed a dead heat between the major party nominees. Not surprisingly, both Stein and Johnson do best with independent voters.

This poll was conducted during the period of September 9 through September 13.

Rasmussen Reports

Trump 42%
Clinton 40%
Johnson 7
Stein 2

The Rasmussen Reports poll had Trump in the lead, but within the margin for error. Johnson does best with “unaffiliateds” in this poll, and second best with Republicans; Stein does best with “unaffiliateds” and second best with Democrats.

This poll was conducted September 12 to 13.


Clinton 42%
Trump 40%
Johnson 5
Stein 3

This poll was conducted September 10 to 13. It showed both Johnson and Stein losing 2 percentage points of support since the last poll.


Clinton 41%
Trump 39%
Johnson 13
Stein 4

This poll registered Johnson’s best showing out of the last 10 national polls. It was taken September 8 to September 13.

Commission on Presidential Debates: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

It's a nonprofit, non-partisan corporation setting debate rules and lectern position. Here's what you need to know about the Commission on Presidential Debates.

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1 comment

  1. What these polls DON’T tell you is that they rarely, if ever, ask if you’d vote for either Stein or Johnson. Many of those polls don’t even include them IN the poll so your choices are Trump, Clinton or ‘Undecided”.