Tag Archives: 2016 election

2016 presidential election 4-way: Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, Gary Johnson, Jill Stein

Gary Johnson helping Hillary win

How is Gary Johnson affecting the 2016 presidential race?  Is he helping Hillary or Trump?  How does Jill Stein factor into it?  For an in-depth analysis, I looked at 4-way presidential polls going back to May 2016, aggregated by RealClearPolitics (CSV data download).  Perhaps unsurprisingly, Gary Johnson seems to hurt Trump more than Hillary — but Jill Stein turns out to have a very surprising role!

Let’s look at how the combo of Johnson and Stein affect the race.  Here we see a positive correlation between their combined share of the vote and Clinton’s numbers.  This means Johnson and Stein take votes from Trump, on average.  But how does Johnson affect things individually?

johnson_stein_vs_clinton

Each dot is one 4-way poll, taken sometime between May 2016 to August 2016.  The “Clinton spread” is shorthand for Hillary’s lead over Trump.

Johnson helps Hillary only very slightly by himself, in the graph below.  Yet in the next graph, Johnson helps the leftist bloc of Hillary and Stein much more than he helps Hillary alone.  What is going on here??

johnson_vs_clinton johnson_vs_clinton_stein

To make things even weirder, Stein seems to help Hillary even more than Johnson does.  That implies Stein is taking more votes from Trump than Gary Johnson does!  How can that be??

stein_vs_clinton

Finally, a moment of clarity.  There is a solid, almost 2:1 correlation between Gary Johnson and Jill Stein’s poll numbers.  That means they magnify each other, instead of subtracting.  Probably because whenever the media gives Gary any attention, they also mention Jill Stein, so she gets a boost.  There is a strong “third party bloc” dynamic here, more so than the individual third party candidates.  Ideology seems to have little effect compared to simple media exposure.

stein_vs_johnson

The best explanation I can think of is that there is a contingent of potential Trump voters, who evenly split between Gary Johnson and Jill Stein.  That would account for why Johnson has a smaller effect on Hillary’s lead than does Stein.  The rest of Johnson’s supporters would otherwise evenly split on Trump and Hillary.

In the end, Jill Stein acts as a magnifier for Johnson’s effect on the race.  Trump would definitely be better off if they both left the race, but his biggest marginal gain would be Jill Stein dropping out.

Prediction: A 2-way debate in late September will shift the focus back to Trump vs. Hillary and diminish the attention on Gary Johnson (and Stein).  This should be a net positive for Trump, the debate results notwithstanding.  A 3-way, or even worse, a 4-way debate, would potentially be devastating for Trump, as it would give a national platform for the third party bloc which is on net drawing votes from Trump.  However, as the clock ticks towards the election, it is likely that the race will be forced into a Trump-Hillary binary, diminishing the third parties, and giving Trump a much-needed small boost.

Hillary Clinton Crazy Eyes

Hillary Clinton: dangerous overachiever

As with my previous comments on Donald Trump, I think it’s more useful to look at these candidates’ psychological states in order to predict their behavior, rather than evaluate their policy positions, which are a mess of contradictions, change constantly, and are mostly lies.

Although he has no clear agenda, Trump could be goaded into certain actions, due to the nature of his personality.  On the other hand, Hillary does have an agenda.  She is a driving force who does not need to be goaded into anything.  It’s hard to know which personality is more dangerous.

Think about all the pent-up frustration Hillary must feel, having waited decades for her turn.  It’s a cliche at this point.  She must have reams of ideas, notebooks and binders full of ideas for growing government and running our lives.  She absolutely knows what she wants to do and is chomping at the bit to impose her plans on the country.  She will no longer be in the back seat, looking on while a man does the job she was destined to do.  This alone suggests an activist president.

Speaking of these men, Hillary can’t just be yet another president.  She will naturally be viewed as merely a shadow of her husband, a pale imitation of his glory days, and a limp-wristed followup to the Obama reign.  She will definitely feel the need to differentiate herself, to surpass these two men and show what she can really do.  Remember, she’s a woman in a historic role — and you can bet she will act accordingly.

The woman issue is a big one.  In order to live up to the hype, she has to get the job done.  Remember when they let that first woman into the Marines and she flunked out?  That’s not an option for Hillary.  She will be facing what she believes to be sexism and will try to overcompensate for her sex accordingly.  That screams activism, especially in a foreign policy setting, where masculine strength and gravitas are traditionally valued.  Look for more wars and adventurism, which she has proven she is very much able and willing to execute.

Although Trump is explicitly activist in his policy proposals for infrastructure and spending, it’s clear that Hillary has the psychological constitution for equal or more activism.  And in the foreign policy realm, where Trump has expressed some skepticism of adventurism, Hillary may be downright catastrophic.