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Public interest in third major party slips in new poll

Voting booths.
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Voter booths await the anticipated record turnout in the 2022 midterm elections, as enthusiasm runs high among both Democrats and Republicans, with a close battle for control of Congress.

Americans’ support for a third major political party dipped in September, after reaching a record high in early 2021, according to a new Gallup poll released on Thursday.

Just over half of Americans — 56 percent — said they believe the Republican and Democratic parties “do such a poor job” that a third political party is needed, the poll found. This is down from January 2021, when a record 62 percent said a third party was needed.

September’s numbers are more in line with the poll’s average since 2003 of 55 percent.

Independents are much more likely than Republicans or Democrats to support a third political party, with 75 percent in the new poll saying a third party is needed in American politics. Independent support for third parties has not dropped below 70 percent since 2013, according to the poll.

Moderate and liberal Republicans are also increasingly supportive of the concept of a third party. Six in 10 have said that a third party is needed, according to data from throughout President Biden’s term. This is up 24 points from President George W. Bush’s presidency.

Gallup suggested that “[d]issatisfaction with former President Trump could be a factor in this group’s elevated interest in having a third party.”

This year’s midterm elections have largely been viewed as a referendum on Trump and his support within the Republican Party. Trump saw mixed results in the primaries, after throwing his weight behind several far-right candidates. 

His endorsed candidate for Wyoming’s at-large congressional district, Harriet Hageman, managed to oust his key rival Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.). Cheney, once Republican royalty, voted to impeach Trump after the Jan. 6 riot and serves on the committee investigating the attack. Several other pro-impeachment Republicans also failed to hold onto their seats in the primaries.

The Gallup poll was conducted on Sept. 1-16, 2022, with a random sample of 812 adults, and had a margin of error of 4 percentage points.

Tags Biden Democratic Party Donald Trump gallup poll Gallup poll George W. Bush Harriet Hageman Joe Biden Liz Cheney Republican Party third party Third party
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