Erendira Mancias

Curious which third-party candidates will be on the ballot in November? It turns out you're not alone. Polls suggest we could be looking at the highest turnout for third-party candidates in recent memory. So, we decided to do a third-party edition of our ongoing social campaign series.

Facebook data confirms that interest in third-party candidates is rising. The two leading third-party candidates are the Green Party's Jill Stein and Libertarian Gary Johnson. Both of their Facebook pages saw upticks in recent weeks.


Johnson saw likes to his Facebook page jump by 113% compared to the week prior, earning 125,575 new likes to his page overall. Earlier this month, he even briefly surpassed Democratic rival Hillary Clinton in total daily likes and shares.

As a matter of fact, this week's top presidential Youtube video came from Johnson. (Neither frontrunner posted a video.)

Fresh off the heels of the Green Party convention, where Stein referred to her candidacy as “Plan B for Bernie Sanders voters,” her Facebook following increased by 3%. And, her campaign boasted that searches for the Green Party spiked on Google Trends.


The 2016 Libertarian Convention was way back in May, but last week, Johnson, along with running-mate William Weld, appeared at Fusion’s live Libertarian Forum where he made a number of candid comments and even offered support to the Black Lives Matter movement. Johnson is currently actively campaigning on social media to get enough signatures to persuade organizers to let him on stage at the upcoming presidential debates. If he succeeds, his social standing could rise even more. Which means we could be seeing a lot more porcupines, the Libertarian mascot, and possibly, well—whatever the Green party mascot** is as well—in our collective political futures.

Here's how the two leading third-party candidates compare to frontrunners Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump:

Data source: CrowdTangle API. Above: 'Likes' per day to posts on each candidate's official campaign account on Facebook for the prior 60-day period ending on the date noted above. Middle: 'Shares' per day by candidate. Below: Number of posts per day to the candidate's Facebook accounts. Current week demarcated by dashed line.

Top candidate posts of the week:

Here are the posts that received the most (and least) likes and shares respectively for each candidate in the past week, including third-party candidates Gary Johnson and Jill Stein.

Donald Trump

Most LikesMost SharedLeast Likes

Hillary Clinton

Most LikesMost SharedLeast Likes

Gary Johnson

Most LikesMost SharedLeast Likes

Jill Stein

Most LikesMost SharedLeast Likes

**In 2007 the Green Party apparently held a vote to determine the party's mascot. Its logo is a sunflower, but most parties are also associated with an animal. Options included a bee, a frog, and a turtle, with many opting for "no mascot at all." In the absence of any clear consensus, we followed Wikiality's lead and went with the sasquatch to represent the party in the header for this piece. Apologies in advance to Green Party members who take umbrage at this choice. On the bright side, it's better than a donkey, right?

Kate Stohr is a data journalist and community builder based in San Francisco, CA.