Donald Trump and HIllary Clinton start their general election fall campaign as the two most unpopular major party nominees in many years of public polling. Mrs. Clinton is viewed unfavorably by about 56 percent of Americans, according to an average of polls compiled by RealClearPolitics, compared with just 37 percent who view her favorably. That gives her a net negative rating of 18 points.
Donald Trump is starting at an even worse net negative rating of 24 points. If nothing happens to change these trends by November, millions of people will be casting votes for a candidate they dislike intensely mostly because they cannot vote for the other candidate. This is something new and different in modern presidential elections. The choice for many people will based on who they dislike the least vs. who they dislike the most and that is why some people will be both #NeverClinton and #NeverTrump at the same time.
The little-known and sometimes eccentric Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson is a former Republican governor of New Mexico who might benefit as a safe harbor for some voters who want to cast a protest vote against both major parties and Johnson and Bill Weld will be on the ballot in all 50 states unlike other minor party candidates.
Based only on the trends in the last several presidential elections, the combination of states needed for any Republican to find a path to 270 Electoral votes is more and more difficult to see compared with the recent Electoral College advantage of the Democratic nominees. But there are combinations of states that could deny 270 Electoral Votes to either major party and the Libertarian voters in some states could tip a state in one direction or another. If no one is awarded at least 270 electors, the election goes to the U.S. House of Representatives as happened twice before in American history.
The GOP in the current House that would make the decision has the majority of members in 33 state delegations vs. only 16 delegations for the Democrats with the state of Maine tied at one from each party. But the House members are not bound to vote for the nominee of their own party.
So buckle up for a wild ride.