# Which states returned the most third party votes in the 2016 presidential election?

I'm curious about which states in the 2016 US presidential election got the most third party votes. I want the top 5 states by percentage down to 1/10 of a percent that shows what the highest 3rd party voting rates are.

State-level result data from here shows that the top five states by percentage of third-party votes in the 2016 presidential election were Utah, Idaho, Vermont, Alaska, and New Mexico, with 27%, 13.25%, 13.05%, 12.17%, and 11.7% respectively. Below is a map showing the rest of the states - you'll probably have to zoom in to read the labels.

@PoloHoleSet also makes an interesting point that often, the only relevance that third-party votes have in the defacto two-party system of the US is whether they could have changed the result of the election - i.e. was the number of third-party votes greater than the margin of victory. To this end, I've created the visualisation below which presents the data in this context.

The states in which third-party voters would have changed the state winner, had they all voted for the candidate in second place, are Michigan, New Hampshire, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Nevada, Florida, Maine, Colorado, Arizona, Utah, New Mexico, Virginia, & North Carolina. In 2016, these states were represented in the electoral college by 108 Trump electors and 50 Clinton electors.

Full data:

``````State,Trump (R),Clinton (D),All Others,Total Vote,3rd Party %,% of Victory Margin
UT,515231,310676,305523,1131430,27.00%,149.36%
ID,409055,189765,91435,690255,13.25%,41.70%
VT,95369,178573,41125,315067,13.05%,49.43%
AK,163387,116454,38767,318608,12.17%,82.60%
NM,319667,385234,93418,798319,11.70%,142.48%
OR,782403,1002106,216827,2001336,10.83%,98.69%
WA,1221747,1742718,352554,3317019,10.63%,67.67%
WY,174419,55973,25457,255849,9.95%,21.49%
ND,216794,93758,33808,344360,9.82%,27.48%
MN,1322951,1367716,254146,2944813,8.63%,567.73%
CO,1202484,1338870,238893,2780247,8.59%,175.16%
MT,279240,177709,40198,497147,8.09%,39.59%
HI,128847,266891,33199,428937,7.74%,24.05%
NE,495961,284494,63772,844227,7.55%,30.16%
ME,335593,357735,54599,747927,7.30%,246.59%
KS,671018,427005,86379,1184402,7.29%,35.40%
MA,1090893,1995196,238957,3325046,7.19%,26.42%
IA,800983,653669,111379,1566031,7.11%,75.61%
SD,227721,117458,24914,370093,6.73%,22.60%
NH,345790,348526,49980,744296,6.72%,1826.75%
RI,180543,252525,31076,464144,6.70%,43.17%
CA,4483814,8753792,943998,14181604,6.66%,22.11%
NV,512058,539260,74067,1125385,6.58%,272.29%
WI,1405284,1382536,188330,2976150,6.33%,827.90%
AZ,1252401,1161167,159597,2573165,6.20%,174.93%
VA,1769443,1981473,233715,3984631,5.87%,110.23%
AR,684872,380494,65310,1130676,5.78%,21.46%
MD,943169,1677928,160349,2781446,5.76%,21.82%
OK,949136,420375,83481,1452992,5.75%,15.79%
IL,2146015,3090729,299680,5536424,5.41%,31.72%
IN,1557286,1033126,144546,2734958,5.29%,27.58%
MI,2279543,2268839,250902,4799284,5.23%,2344.00%
DE,185127,235603,23084,443814,5.20%,45.73%
MO,1594511,1071068,143026,2808605,5.09%,27.32%
WV,489371,188794,36258,714423,5.08%,12.06%
DC,12723,282830,15715,311268,5.05%,5.82%
KY,1202971,628854,92324,1924149,4.80%,16.08%
OH,2841005,2394164,261318,5496487,4.75%,58.48%
TN,1522925,870695,114407,2508027,4.56%,17.54%
TX,4685047,3877868,406311,8969226,4.53%,50.34%
CT,673215,897572,74133,1644920,4.51%,33.04%
NY,2819533,4556118,345791,7721442,4.48%,19.91%
SC,1155389,855373,92265,2103027,4.39%,30.75%
PA,2970733,2926441,268304,6165478,4.35%,605.76%
NC,2362631,2189316,189617,4741564,4.00%,109.41%
GA,2089104,1877963,147665,4114732,3.59%,69.94%
AL,1318255,729547,75570,2123372,3.56%,12.84%
LA,1178638,780154,70240,2029032,3.46%,17.63%
NJ,1601933,2148278,123835,3874046,3.20%,22.67%
FL,4617886,4504975,297178,9420039,3.15%,263.20%
MS,700714,485131,23512,1209357,1.94%,10.91%
``````
• Note that the third-party votes were distributed differently in each of these five states. In Utah, and to a lesser extent in Idaho, the third-party vote was dominated by Evan McMullin. In Alaska & New Mexico, Gary Johnson got most of the third-part vote. And in Vermont, the third-party vote was in large part a write-in vote for Bernie Sanders. May 12, 2020 at 20:39
• @MichaelSeifert Good points. I'm not sure if the Bernie votes (in any state, let alone VT) should be counted as "third party", even if he wasn't the Dem candidate. May 12, 2020 at 22:18
• @costrom they certainly should be counted as 3rd party, because their votes do not count for the Dem candidate winning the state, as the purpose of the question is to figure out when the "Not Trump/Clinton" vote could change the result. Obviously in Dem win this is possibly misleading, but in an Rep won state it's very significant. Aug 5, 2020 at 8:56
• Interesting second graphic. Note that the third party vote tends to mirror the popularity of major parties. For example, while McMullin's 21% could have mathematically flipped Utah blue, in reality his base would have gone 2:1 in favor of the Republican candidate like the rest of Utah's vote. Sep 29, 2020 at 13:51