3rd-party candidates gain momentum in response to Trump and Clinton

Polls Show More Americans Are Leaning Toward Third-Party Candidates

In all likelihood, the next president of the United States will be the least popular candidate ever to be elected as commander in chief -- but an increasing number of voters are searching for alternatives.

Both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have had campaigns marked by scandals and gaffes, and voters don't seem too keen on picking either one of them.

SEE MORE: Clinton, Trump, A Gorilla? What A Unique Question Tells Us About Polls

FiveThirtyEight reported that Clinton would have been the least-liked party nominee in modern history if it weren't for Trump.

A RealClearPolitics poll shows that third-party candidates are the preferred option of nearly 10 percent of those surveyed.

Former New Mexico governor and Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson is the most popular third-party option, drawing an average of 7 percent of voters. That's a pretty significant bump up from his 4.5 percent mark at the beginning of June.

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Gary Johnson through the years
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Gary Johnson through the years
UNITED STATES - MARCH 3: Gov. Gary Johnson, former Governor of NM, speaks at the American Conservative Union's CPAC conference at National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Md., on Thursday, March 3, 2016. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
UNITED STATES - FEBRUARY 26: Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson pretends to have a heart attack on stage while arguing in favor of legalization of marijuana during CPAC in National Harbor, Md., on Feb. 26, 2015. Former Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle, R-N.Y., not pictured, had just argued during their debate that marijuana caused an increased risk of heart attacks. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
ORLANDO, FL - SEPTEMBER 22: Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson speaks in the Fox News/Google GOP Debate at the Orange County Convention Center on September 22, 2011 in Orlando, Florida. The debate featured the nine Republican candidates two days before the Florida straw poll. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Green Party candidate Jill Stein is further behind with just 2.8 percent support.

For some context, both Trump and Clinton have been hovering around 40 percent since the beginning of June and are in a dead heat as of July 31.

With the candidates from the two major parties in a tight race, voters opting for third-party candidates could have a big impact. Exactly what impact they have in November will depend on which major party those voters stray from.

The Republican and Democratic conventions, which are typically about party unity, only seemed to drive people away. Google searches for the term "3rd party candidate 2016" soared at convention time, increasing by over 1,100 percent during and after the RNC and picking back up again during the DNC as well.

A candidate needs to poll at an average of at least 15 percent in five major polls to participate in presidential debates.

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