Presidential Election Results: Did Jill Stein Cost Hillary Clinton the Election?

jill stein, gary johnson

Jill Stein and Gary Johnson. (Getty)

Did Green Party candidate Jill Stein cost Democrat Hillary Clinton the election?

Not by herself, but possibly in conjunction with Libertarian Gary Johnson.

A review of the seven key states that made Donald Trump the president elect, shows that Stein’s vote total was higher than Trump’s margin in two of those states: Wisconsin and Michigan. In addition, in Florida, the combined vote total for Stein and Libertarian Gary Johnson was higher than Trump’s margin of victory.

Stein had harsh words for Clinton during the primary. According to Rolling Stone, she tweeted, “I agree with Hillary, it’s time to elect a woman for President. But I want that President to reflect the values of being a mother. #MothersDay.” When she was criticized, she responded by calling Clinton a “war monger,” said Rolling Stone.

Some voters are upset at third-party voters, as well as at celebrities, like Susan Sarandon, who urged a vote for them.

What would have happened in the electoral college if Clinton had won Wisconsin and Michigan by obtaining all or most of Jill Stein’s votes (no sure thing, at all)?

Trump would still win.

Why? Because he picked up an additional blue state, Pennsylvania (as well as states that were deadlocked in the polls or where he had led slightly: North Carolina, Ohio and Florida). Here’s the electoral college map if Clinton had won Wisconsin and Michigan:


However, if Libertarian Gary Johnson and Stein did indeed siphon votes from Clinton in Florida, and if she had received enough of those votes (again, no sure thing), and if Stein hadn’t been on the ballot in Wisconsin and Michigan, and if those voters would then have voted for Clinton…Trump would have lost. In other words, Clinton would have won if she could have won those three states: Wisconsin, Michigan, and Florida.

Of course, those are a lot of ifs. Maybe Jill Stein voters are so angry at the two-party system that, if Stein had not been in the race, they would have stayed home. Or voted for Gary Johnson. Or written in Mickey Mouse.

There’s no question, though, that anti-establishment fever was also apparent on the left; after all, Bernie Sanders voters needed somewhere to go. Clinton, with her Goldman Sachs speeches and her Washington pedigree, could not credibly claim an outsider mantle.

Is it possible some Hillary Clinton voters switched over to Johnson in Florida (and other states)? Of course, it’s possible. Johnson, with his pro-marijuana legalization views and moderate running mate, William Weld, might have appealed to some Democratic or Democratic-leaning Independent voters who normally would have voted Democratic but didn’t like Clinton, whose unfavorable ratings were around Trump’s and who was painted as an elitest for months by Sanders in a heated primary.

Gary Johnson On The Issues: gay marriage, abortion, government spending, marijuana, war

Gary Johnson. (Getty Images)

The third-party share of the electorate was up in some of the key states. It was up by 2 percentage points in Pennsylvania, 4 percentage points in Michigan, and 6 percentage points in Wisconsin. Trump won by only 1 percent of the vote in Pennsylvania in 2016; overall voting in Pennsylvania was up over 2012.

However, many people believe that Johnson’s get-government-out-of-our-lives mantra could have appealed more to disaffected conservatives. Some of the other third-party candidates on the ballot have conservative platforms too. For example, Constitution Party nominee Darrell Castle was on the ballot in Wisconsin and Michigan. The party is pro-life and talks a lot about Biblical scripture on its website; reading through its issue positions, it’s hard to imagine many Hillary Clinton voters heading that way.

There were many other reasons leading to Trump’s success, including disaffected rural, white voters in western areas of the critical rust-belt states who supported Trump.

Stein was not on the ballot in all states; in one of those state, Nevada, Clinton won, even though the polls had shown the race deadlocked. She was also not on the ballot in the battleground states of North Carolina and Georgia, although voters were able to write her name in.

Here are overall margins of victory in the critical states compared to Jill Stein’s and Gary Johnson’s margins in each state, per state records:


Overall Trump margin of victory: 27,257 votes
Jill Stein vote total: 30,980
Gary Johnson vote total: 106,442


Overall Trump margin of victory: 13,107 votes
Jill Stein vote total: 51,427
Gary Johnson vote total: 172,726


Overall Trump margin of victory: 71,794
Jill Stein vote total: 48,657
Gary Johnson vote total: 142,334 (with 99.93% in)

Other Key States


Overall Trump margin of victory: 119,489
Jill Stein vote total: 64,060
Gary Johnson vote total: 206,189


Overall Trump margin of victory: 454,983
Jill Stein vote total: 44,310
Gary Johnson vote total: 168,599

North Carolina

Overall Trump margin of victory: 177,009
Jill Stein vote total: Not on ballot, 692 write-in votes
Gary Johnson: 127,746


Overall Trump margin of victory: 148,081
Jill Stein vote total: 11,406
Gary Johnson vote total: 58,906

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  1. Trump Voters, Primary Clinton Voters, DNC, MSM. That is who gave Trump the election in that order. You have to stop trying to silence the opposition, that is not democratic. Try instead to build alliances and know once and for all that the Democratic Party is not the solution to Trump, it is its cause.

    • DNC should be first, because per the leaked email, the DNC elevated “Pied Piper candidates” like Trump, Cruz, and Carson months before Trump even announced his candidacy.

  2. The sole reason Hillary Clinton was Hillary and Bill Clinton. Everything else is silliness, supposition, and the inabilty to accept responsibility.

  3. Here is Pennsylvania both parties have party shills that run to take votes away from the other side.These two clowns are nothing more than vanity candidates like Ralph Nader in 2000 who run because they like the attention. BTW Gary Johnson looks and acts retarded hard to believe he was a Governor..

  4. There are exit polls on this: why aren’t you quoting them? Half of Stein voters said that had she not been on the ballot, they would had stayed home. The rest were equally divided between Trump AND Clinton as second best choice — therefore at best, you could, in an alternate universe, argue that Hillary “rightfully owned” those votes. Since alternate universe talk is childish and unproductive, the claim on Stein’s votes is nothing but condescending, patronizing, and undemocratic.

    In this election, 9% of registered Democrats voted for Trump — more than Johnson and Stein and Republicans who voted for Hillary COMBINED — are they excused for their “protest vote”? Hillary and Trump both got less votes than McCain did in 2008 and Romney in 2012 — who both lost those elections– participation was down in 2016. Those who didn’t vote this time around — are they excused from blame for Hillary’s loss?

    As far as Nader is concerned and Florida 2000. 309K registered Democrats voted for Bush in FL — are they excused? There were total of 6 of 3rd party presidential candidates in FL who got more than the number of votes that decided Gore’s fate — why only blame Nader? Informed voter knows. A parrot parrots.

  5. How can I successfully contact Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell to tell them what I will be fighting for to have a justice for all citizens and residents in our country?

  6. The Democrats have no one to blame but themselves. They made assumptions about the race especially in certain states. I believe they thought they had a lock on the states Obama won in 2008 and 2012. They were wrong. I voted for Jill Stein. I don’t really care if people thought I threw away a vote. It was my free choice and I did not like either major party candidate. The local races were more important to me. It is as simple as that.

  7. It’s pointless for third parties to even participate in the presidential elections. It’s only PR for them. They can’t win. I’m all for getting a third, fourth and fifth party to reckon with in the US, but they can’t start at the presidential level. They need to start locally. They need to concentrate ALL efforts on the local level and build upwards. You cannot create a major party from the top down.

    • For the Green Party, we know (because we have the data on this) that when we run aggressive, antional Presidential campaigns (like in 2000, 2012 and this year), we gain state ballot lines, down-ticket candidates and down-ticket *wins*, volunteers, media coverage, fundraising, etc. – all the things that you need to do exactly what you’re talking about. When we don’t (as in 2004 and 2008), we *lose* those resources. So in fact it’s not at all either -or, but the two – running nationally *and* growing the party from the ground up – are mutually reinforcing.

  8. What a stupid article. Do you have any indication whatsoever that Johnson voters would have gone for Clinton if he weren’t on the ballot? Or are you just talking completely out of your ass? Or did you even bother to look at the exit polls?

  9. You really need to know some libertarians before you start wondering if they would have voted for Clinton. Most libertarians are conservatives, people who are far more likely to vote Republican than Democrat.

  10. Important keywords mentioned in this post: if, possible, might have, believe. This article is pure speculation and shouldn’t be taken as fact.

  11. yeah because we should only have 2 parties, only the 2 corporate-owned voices in our government. that is literally what people are saying when they say “3rd parties cost Hillary the election”. hey know what also might’a cost her the election? the 7 MILLION DEMOCRATS WHO VOTED IN 2012 WHO STAYED HOME. oh, but let’s blame 30,000 Greens in WI. or Russia! hey you guys, let’s all blame RUSSIA! #idiots

  12. Between the two of them they did cost hillary the election most likely. Only fair since her husband won the first time due to an Independent being in the race.

  13. People that vote for fringe candidates because of their anger with the two party system are ill informed fools that clearly do not have any understanding of how our electoral system works. Their efforts would be far better spent working to legislatures that are willing to convene a Constitutional Convention in order to rid the country of this piece of antiquity. The protest vote gives us such wonderful presidents as George W Bush and Donald Trump. And if any Green Party voter says there is no difference between Trump and Clinton wait until the US backs out of the Paris Accord regarding climate change and tell me that there is no difference. When Trump pushes to bring back coal (forget about the idea of clean coal) then tell me that there is no difference. When Trump brings back mass surveillance of citizens then tell me that there is no difference.

  14. Jill Stein’s supporters were hardcore anti-war. Hillary is a war monger. Not likely than many would have voted for Hillary.

  15. This argument is so flawed, it boils my brain
    1. Nader got more votes from registered Republicans than Democrats, meaning ceteris parabis that Nader took more votes away from Bush than Gore
    2. Assuming that Stein and Johnson voters en masse and to a person would have voted for Clinton (and Nader voters for Gore) is a gross logical fallacy. People vote for third party candidates when the two major party candidates are unacceptable to them. Removing third party candidates does not magically make the two major party candidates any more palatable. These voters likely would have left the president part of their ballots blank over voting for HRC or DJT