I predict that, as usual, not a single electoral vote will go to a third party candidate. In 1992 Ross Perot got nearly 19% (about 19 million votes) of the popular vote and got ZERO electoral votes but, with the Perot draw mostly being from Bush41, Clinton42 was handed the election with 43% of the popular vote. That is simply casting a "protest" vote that might make you feel not so resonsble for the eventual outcome. To escape this rigged two party system we need to have proportional assignment of all electoral votes.
Each state controls how their electoral votes are awarded. Perhaps I should say how the electors are chosen. 48 states and D.C. has elected to go with the winner take all method. Maine divides up their electoral votes by congressional districts, they have two and the winner of the district receives its one electoral vote. The remaining two go to the overall winner of the state. Nebraska does the same only they have 3 congressional districts in which the winner of each district gets it electoral vote and winner of the state overall receives an additional 2 electoral votes.
There are other quirks, in Georgia we have a runoff if no candidates receive 50% plus one vote between the top two vote getters. But the winner of the general election or runoff receives all of Georgia’s 16 electoral votes. A few other states have runoff rules also.
The thing is each state controls how their electoral votes are awarded. It doesn’t take an act of congress; it takes an act of each state legislature to achieve proportional or a winner take all. Pennsylvania was discussing the congressional district method a year or two back, but decided against it thinking it would dilute their electoral voting strength.
I’m fine with the winner take all method. That is as long as the winner receives 50% plus one vote. I like our method of having a runoff election if no candidate receives the threshold of 50% plus one. Another way this could be done is if no candidate receives a majority of 50% plus one, then let the state award its electoral votes via congressional district with the plurality winner receiving the remaining two.
Now back in 1968 Wallace running as an independent received 13% of the total vote and 46 electoral votes. His strength was mostly in the south. Strom Thurmond in 1948 only received only a bit over two percent of the vote nationally, but he won four states and 39 electoral votes. Thurmond too was but a regional candidate.
Perot was national. So his 19% had no affect on the electoral college.