Political statistician Nate Silver said over the weekend that, with Libertarian presidential nominee Gary Johnson polling at 24 percent in his home state of New Mexico, it is "plausible" the election could end in a deadlock.
According to Silver, who wrote about the possible but unlikely outcome on his website, FiveThirtyEight, Johnson only has a "2 or 3 percent" chance of defeating his opponents, Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump, on his home turf.
But, if it were to happen, Silver's map shows the Libertarian standard-bearer carrying the Land of Enchantment while Trump and Clinton split swing states both candidates need. The breakdown shows Clinton winning 267 electoral votes, followed by Trump with 266 votes and Johnson with five votes.
A candidate must secure 270 electoral votes to succeed to the presidency. If that total is not reached naturally, the election goes to the House of Representatives. Here's an explainer on how that works.
"It’s a somewhat plausible map too, with Clinton winning all her 'must-win' states except New Mexico, which she loses because of Johnson’s native-son status," Silver wrote. "[B]ut plausible is a long way from likely. It’s not far-fetched to think the Electoral College would be close enough that New Mexico would make the difference, and it’s not totally crazy to think that Johnson could win his home state."
But in the end, the chances of the election actually resulting in a deadlock are very slim, Silver noted.
"In 20,000 simulations of our polls-only model this morning, cases in which neither Clinton nor Trump received a majority of electoral votes and Johnson received at least one came up just 30 times," he wrote.
The famed statistician put Johnson's chances of throwing the election to Congress at 0.15 percent.
Here's Silver's map:
A new poll puts @GovGaryJohnson at 24% in New Mexico, which makes this map plausible. Electoral College deadlock. https://t.co/EpKzUmfzUPpic.twitter.com/kgqpWlLuIK— Nate Silver (@NateSilver538) October 2, 2016
Follow the author of this story on Twitter: