53 Percent of People Who Voted Third Party in 2016 Planning to Vote for Biden, New Poll Shows

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has secured the majority of voters who cast their ballot for a third-party candidate in the 2016 election, a new poll shows.

According to a Morning Consult survey conducted October 16 through 18, about 53 percent of likely voters who cast their ballot for someone other than a major-party nominee in 2016 said they're backing Biden in this year's election.

Just 21 percent of likely voters said they're supporting President Donald Trump's re-election. Another 14 percent of respondents said they would vote for a third-party candidate again, while 12 percent remain undecided.

Still, the numbers represent a shift in mindset from four years ago, when 6 percent of voters—more than 7.8 million people—selected one of the 31 third-party candidates around the country, or wrote their own candidate in, according to data from Federal Election Commission.

The vast majority of third-party votes went to Libertarian Party nominee Gary Johnson and Green Party candidate Jill Stein. The total number of third-party votes were enough for Democrats to label Stein and Johnson as Electoral College spoilers, as their combined vote share (5.9 million) was larger than Trump's narrow wins in Arizona, Florida, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan, according to Morning Consult.

But this year, only 2 percent of voters have said they will cast their ballots for someone other than Trump or Biden. Among their options include Libertarian nominee Jo Jorgensen and Green Party nominee Howie Hawkins. Hip-hop star Kanye West will appear on the ballot in 12 states, including two important battlegrounds—Iowa and Minnesota—according to Hypebot.

But in key battleground states, few 2016 third-party votes said they'd vote for someone other than Trump or Biden again. In Minnesota, for instance, where 9 percent of overall voters chose a third-party candidate in 2016, just 2 percent said they'd do the same this year.

Joe Biden Oct 19
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden waves as he departs The Queen theater on October 19, 2020 in Wilmington, Delaware. Biden has secured the majority of voters who cast their ballot for a third party candidate in the 2016 election, according to a new poll released October 22. Drew Angerer/Getty

Support for Biden among this demographic has grown sizably since May, when around 42 percent of voters who selected a third-party candidate in 2016 said they would vote for Biden this year. Support for Trump, however, has essentially remained the same since May, hovering around 20 percent.

The numbers line up with shifts in voters' favorability of the two candidates. In the October survey, 45 percent of 2016 third-party voters said they had a favorable view of Biden, while 49 percent said their view was unfavorable. But in the May survey, those numbers were 39 and 52 percent, respectively.

Trump's popularity, on the other hand, has remained virtually unchanged. In October, 22 percent of third-party voters said they viewed the president favorably, compared to the 72 percent who had an unfavorable view of him. In May, those numbers were 24 and 72 percent, respectively.

Among all likely voters in this year's election, Biden continues to lead Trump nationally. The former vice president received 52 percent of voters' support, compared to Trump's 43 percent, the Morning Consult poll found.