Analysis: Third-Party Protest Vote May Have Cost Clinton the Election

Jill Stein and Gary Johnson took solid portions of the vote in key states

Third-party candidates took small but significant portions of the vote in a handful of key swing states, NBC News reported.

It was an improbable and outsize impact for Libertarian Party nominee Gary Johnson and Green Party nominee Jill Stein, neither of whom cracked double digits in public polling or made it into the general election debates — and a sign of just how dissatisfied Americans remain with their options for president.

In Michigan — a must-win for Clinton, as the map has narrowed for her over the night — Johnson and Stein were collectively taking a little more than 75,000 votes as of 11 p.m. ET, more than double the nearly 37,000 vote lead Trump enjoyed in the state, and 5 percent of the vote.

In Florida, Stein and two other third-party candidates on the ballot collectively drew over 290,000 votes, again more than twice as much as the 135,000-vote margin that's kept the race too close to call throughout the night, and 3 percent of the vote.

The strong performance by third-party candidates this year echoes that of independent candidate Ross Perot in the 1992 election.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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