Public opinion analyst disputes number of Independents that would vote for Schultz

A public opinion analyst said on Wednesday that the number of Independents that would vote for former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz as a third party presidential candidate would likely be very small.

"In a populist age, it's possible that there has been more support than there has been in the past, but the number of pure Independents in this country is very small. It's about 10 to 12 percent," Karlyn Bowman, a senior fellow for the American Enterprise Institute, told Hill.TV's Jamal Simmons on "What America's Thinking." 

Schultz, who is contemplating a centrist, independent run for the White House, said on Sunday that he is looking to attract Americans who do not feel part of the Republican or Democratic parties. 

“Republicans and Democrats alike — who no longer see themselves as part of the far extreme of the far right and the far left — are looking for a home,” Schultz said in an interview with The New York Times.

He also told NPR that "42 percent of the electorate, 42 percent, 30 percent are registered independents and 12 percent currently affiliate themselves with the Independents."

However, Marist Poll director Lee Miringoff told Hill.TV that most Independents lean Republican or Democratic.  

"It's not the 40 percent that he's citing because they really tend to be Democrat or Republican," Marist Poll director Lee Miringoff said in the same interview. "They just don't like the damaged brand of both." 

Democrats have criticized Schultz for his potential run, saying an independent presidential bid would split the vote, ensuring a victory for Trump. 

— Julia Manchester