The 2016 presidential election will likely be remembered for the two major parties fielding nominees with historically high unfavorable ratings, but the voting public has yet to gravitate to alternative choices.
In a recent CNN/ORC poll, Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton is seen favorably by 42 percent and unfavorably by 56 percent, while Republican nominee Trump is seen favorably by 45 percent and unfavorably by 55 percent. The discouraging numbers for the two frontrunners would seem to present great opportunities for the Libertarian Party and the Green Party to tap into voter dissatisfaction, but neither is close to the 15 percent in five national polls needed to take part in the upcoming debates.
The chances are particularly slim for Dr. Jill Stein, the Green Party nominee, who has maintained poll numbers hovering between one percent and six percent in August. However, the numbers are somewhat encouraging compared to the 2012 election, when Stein only received 0.36 percent of the popular vote.
Stein's best showing in recent months was a June poll by CNN/ORC that had her at seven percent.
Operating on a slim budget, the Green Party has struggled to keep up with Democrats and Republicans. On Friday, Stein appeared in Ohio, a key battleground state with 18 electoral votes. She reportedly was meant to visit Columbus but instead flew to Cincinnati. When Stein arrived late in Columbus, she addressed a rally of 150 people.
"The Midwest has been hit hard," Stein would tell a Cinncinati crowd on Sunday. "Ohio's been hit really hard by these corporate trade agreements by NAFTA, by the Trans Pacific Partnership, which Hillary Clinton used to support, which Donald (Trump) says he doesn't. But on the other hand, he sends his jobs overseas."
The first debate will be held on Sept. 26 at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York. Stein has stated that the debate system is rigged.
"Our plans are to be in that debate," Stein told "Democracy Now" in August. "It's not just about whether our party will be included. It's whether the American people will have a voice—whether we will have a real discussion of the crisis of jobs, of the climate, of race, of war and a crisis of a generation."
Stein boasted that her campaign reaching six and seven percent in polls "has happened without any [mainstream] media coverage."
While the Green Party appears to be far off from the 15 percent, the Libertarian Party has seen a sharp uptick from 2012. Presidential candidate Gary Johnson, who garnered just 0.99 percent of the vote in the last election, polled at 7 percent in the latest CNN/ORC poll, but has reached as high as 12 percent in polls by NBC News/SM and IBD/TIPP last week.
Trump leads in the CNN/ORC poll at 45 percent with Clinton at 43 percent. Clinton has led in most polls since early May, leading by as many as 14 points.