3rd-party candidates banking on dislike of Trump, Clinton

Gov. Gary Johnson, Libertarian Party nominee, and Dr. Jill Stein, Green Party nominee. (Photos courtesy of respective campaigns)
Gov. Gary Johnson, Libertarian Party nominee, and Dr. Jill Stein, Green Party nominee. (Photos courtesy of respective campaigns)

- It's fair to say that for many voters this year's presidential candidates leave something to be desired. In fact, recent polling in may showed Clinton and Trump were the most strongly disliked candidates of past 10 presidential cycles. And it could be creating a perfect storm for what some experts are describing as the year of the third party.

Gary Johnson -- the former Republican governor of New Mexico - is the Libertarian party's nominee for president. And if he gets his way, he'll become the country's third President Johnson.

Johnson, who is fiscally conservative and socially liberal, and Dr. Jill Stein of the Green party are third-party candidates banking on the hope that voter dissatisfaction with Trump and Clinton will open a lane for them to make waves in 2016.

Right now, debate rules say a candidate needs to hit at least 15 percent in national polls to make the cut. A new Fox News poll puts Johnson at 12 percent, just three points away from qualifying for the debate, which experts say goes a long way in a long-shot campaign.

Johnson wouldn't be the first third-party candidate with national prospects. Ralph Nader was a factor in 2000. And one of the most famous and successful third-party candidates in recent memory was Ross Perot. He received 19 percent of the popular vote in 1992 and arguably cost George Bush 41 a second term in the White House.

Polls say there is an appetite for another option. In 2014, 58 percent -- nearly 3 out of every 5 adults -- told Gallup that they believe a third political party is necessary. And Johnson says he is the guy.

Now there is always third party talk every election cycle. Johnson himself has done the third-party thing before. In 2012, he received just 1 percent of the popular vote nationwide. But experts say the unorthodox 2016 campaign -- people unhappy with either option -- really is breathing new life into third party candidates. 

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