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article imagePoll: Support for third party in U.S. drops, 46% say it is needed

By Andrew Moran     Sep 12, 2012 in Politics
Washington - Since the presidential campaign of Ross Perot in 1992, there has been a gradual call for a legitimate third party to battle against the Republicans and Democrats. In today's contentious political system, is there strong support for a third party?
A new Gallup poll suggests that there has been a decline in support for a third party. Over the past decade, the polling firm has pegged the question nine times to Republicans, Democrats and Independents and it has been a fluctuation.
The growing need for a third party was at its highest in the middle of 2007 when 58 percent said they would support a third party and 33 percent responded that the GOP and the Democrats are doing an adequate job of representing the American people.
On Wednesday, less than two months until the electorate heads to the voting booth, Gallup found that 46 percent say a third party is much needed and 45 percent noted the major two parties are doing well standing up for their constituents.
When breaking down support, Independents (58 percent) were much more likely to support a third major political party. Meanwhile, 40 percent of Democrats said they’d vote for a major third party and 36 percent of Republicans stated they’d do the same thing.
The same survey suggested that President Barack Obama leads Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney with 50 percent compared to 43 percent. Among the third party candidates – Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson, Green Party candidate Jill Stein and Constitution Party candidate Virgil Goode – they all receive only one percent each.
“Americans generally tend to support the idea that a third major party is needed on the American political scene, although such support today, at 46%, is lower than it has been over the past two years, perhaps because the poll was conducted in a presidential election year, shortly after the Republican and Democratic conventions,” the Gallup pollsters wrote in their analysis.
“Despite Americans' attitudes, no third-party candidate who garners a significant level of support has emerged. The vast majority of votes in this year's Nov. 6 presidential election, it follows, are likely to be cast for either Barack Obama or Mitt Romney.”
There are more than two dozen minor political parties in the U.S. and most of them have very minor support or are considered fringe. Some of the minor third parties include the Communist Party, the Prohibition Party, the Pirate Party, the Jefferson Republican Party and more.
The telephone poll was conducted with 1,017 American adults from Sept. 6 to Sept. 9. It contains a margin of error of +/- four percentage points.
Politico reported that Johnson is on the ballot in 47 states in addition to the District of Columbia. The Libertarian Party is presently in litigation with the three remaining states: Michigan, Oklahoma and Pennsylvania.
Johnson is being considered as the spoiler. A CNN poll found Johnson as well as Stein hurt Romney more than they do the president. Also, Johnson is attempting to court Ron Paul supporters. Although he is hardly involved in national polls, Johnson is polling the strongest in his former state of New Mexico with four percent.
More about Gallup poll, United States, Third party, 2012 election, Independents
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