Independents were the most likely support a third major party, with 71 percent saying one is needed. Republicans and Democrats were much lower, at 52 percent and 49 percent, respectively. 

The numbers are a sharp shift from September 2012, when just 46 percent said a strong third party was needed and 45 percent disagreed. The previous peak in support for a third party’s emergence was in August 2010, when 58 percent agreed. 

The 26 percent who say the two parties do an adequate job is the lowest figure recorded since Gallup began the poll in 2003. The previous low was 33 percent, in 2007, when a newly elected Democratic Congress was clashing repeatedly with an unpopular President Bush. 

The rise in backing for a third party comes at a time when both parties are shedding popularity over the ongoing government shutdown and potential debt-ceiling overrun. 

According to an NBC-WSJ poll released yesterday, only 24 percent of voters have a favorable view of the GOP, while Democrats have 39 percent favorability. 

The Gallup poll was conducted from Oct. 3-6, with a random sample of 1,028 adults. The margin of error was 4 percentage points.