Support for a third major political party is at an all-time high in the United States, a poll found.
The Gallup poll found 62% of respondents think a third major party is necessary — the highest percentage recorded since Gallup says it began conducting surveys about third parties in 2003. The poll of 906 American adults, conducted Jan. 21-Feb. 2, has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.
Sixty-two percent of Americans say a third political party is needed in the U.S., up from 57% in September and the highest in Gallup’s trend. https://t.co/QUg6WE7qUL
— GallupNews (@GallupNews) February 15, 2021
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In 2003, most Americans did not think a third party was needed, and in previous election years, including 2008 and 2012, Americans were divided on the need for a third party, Gallup found. But since 2012, support has been higher, reaching 60% in 2013 and 2015 and 61% in 2017.
The poll also found that just 33% of respondents think the Republican and Democratic parties do “an adequate job of representing the American people” — the lowest percentage recorded since October 2013, when Gallup found 26% of respondents answered the same.
Despite the increasing support, third party or unaffiliated candidates haven’t fared well in recent presidential elections, data show.
In 2020, Libertarian candidate Jo Jorgensen received 1.2% of the popular vote, and in 2016, Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson received roughly 3.3% of the popular vote, according to Statista. Gallup also found “limited” support for third-party candidates in the 2012 election.
Republicans support third political party
The poll found 63% of Republicans say a third political party is necessary — the highest level of support Gallup has recorded among Republicans or Democrats.
Meanwhile, 70% of Independents and 46% of Democrats say a third party is needed.
Independents are usually the most likely to support a third political party, Gallup says, but the poll found Republicans are “nearly as likely” to support the idea now.
“Republicans’ record desire for a third party comes at a time when they are deciding whether to remain loyal to (former President Donald) Trump or to move on from him,” Gallup says.
Sixty percent of Republicans surveyed said they want Trump to “continue to be the leader” of the GOP while 38% want the party to “have a new leader,” the poll found.
— Quinnipiac University Poll (@QuinnipiacPoll) February 15, 2021
Forty percent of Republicans responded that they want to see the party become more conservative, while 34% said they want it to stay the same and 24% said they want it to become more moderate.
Meanwhile, 34% of Democrats want their party to become more liberal. Another 34% want it to become more moderate while 31% want it to remain the same.
Talks of forming a third party
The polls comes as more than 100 former Republicans who serve as officials recently discussed forming a new “center-right” party during talks about how to “rally whatever anti-Trump momentum is left in the party,” the Washington Post reported.
People involved in the talks told Reuters they included former officials who served during the Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush and Trump administrations.
“Some people at the summit strongly favor starting a new party,” Evan McMullin, former chief policy director for the House Republican Conference and host of the discussions, told The Post. “They think the GOP is irredeemable. They understand how difficult it is to form a new party, but they understand that there is no other choice.”
The supposed new party would run on a platform of “principled conservatism” and would run candidates in some races and endorse “center-right” candidates in others, Reuters reports.
The talks came days before Trump’s impeachment trial began in the U.S. Senate, which ended in his acquittal Saturday. The U.S. House of Representatives impeached him on the charge that he incited an insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.
Trump has considered starting his own political party, called the Patriot Party, sources told The Wall Street Journal. He’s also floated another run for president in 2024, though it’s unclear how serious he is about either endeavor.
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