Americans Really Dislike Trump, Clinton. So Why Aren’t Third Parties Doing Better?

So many things about this election are unprecedented — and one of the most obvious is how much voters dislike the candidates. By now, everyone knows that this year features the two most unpopular presumptive major-party candidates on record.

But in some ways, Americans’ dislike of the presidential candidates isn’t so remarkable. In fact, a recent report from the Pew Research Center shows that 1992 voters were just as disappointed in their candidate choices, perhaps even more so, than voters are today. That helped open the door to the most successful third-party candidate (by popular vote) in more than 100 years, Ross Perot.

This year, despite constant chatter about independent candidates and new interest in the Libertarian and Green parties, no outsider candidate has looked competitive yet (though some polls have shown Libertarian Gary Johnson polling in double-digits). Perot’s 1992 run is an excellent foil for showing what is making a third-party run particularly difficult this year. CONT.

Danielle Kurtzleben, NPR