Support for a Third Party Option in a Politically Divided America

With the United States 2020 election theatrics more-or-less behind us, it is clear that the "Untied States" is as politically polarized as it has been for generations.  Republicans are clearly unhappy with the results of the latest presidential election and, as you will see in this posting, are increasingly looking to an option that has rarely been given much thought in the United States.

A Gallup poll taken in February 2021 was conducted with a random sample of 906 adults living in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.  Of these, 420 were Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents and 412 were Republicans and Republican-leaning independents.  Individuals were asked the following questions:

1.) In your view, do the Republican and Democratic parties do an adequate job of representing the American people, or do they do such a poor job that a third major party is needed?

2.) (Asked of Democrats and Democratic leaning independents) If you had to choose, would you rather see the Democratic Party –[ROTATED: become more liberal, stay the same, (or) become more moderate]?

3.) (Asked of Republicans and Republican leaning independents) If you had to choose, would you rather see the Republican Party – [ROTATED: become more conservative, stay the same, (or) become more moderate]?

4.) (Asked of Republicans and Republican leaning independents) Would you rather Donald Trump continue to be the leader of the Republican Party, or for the Republican Party to have a new leader?

Here are the results:

1.) The perceived need for a third U.S. political party:

Only 33 percent of Americans believe that the two main political parties are doing an adequate job, the smallest percentage since October 2013 (26 percent).  This compares to 62 percent of Americans who believe that the parties are doing such a poor job of representing American voters that a national third major party is needed, the highest level since the poll began in 2003 when only 40 percent of Americans believed that a third party option was needed.

Here is a graphic showing the percentage of Republicans, Democrats and Independents that believe that a third major political party is needed:

Republican support for a third party option has risen from its pre-2020 election level of 40 percent to its current level of 63 percent, the highest on record since the poll began in 2003.  This compares to 70 percent of Independent voters and only 46 percent of Democrats.

2.) Donald Trump's leadership: When it comes to Donald Trump's leadership, 68 percent of Republicans would prefer that Trump remain the party leader compared to 31 percent that want a new leader.  When it comes to Republican-leaning independents, 47 percent would prefer that Trump remain party leader compared to 51 percent that want a new leader.  

3.) Republicans' political direction: When it comes to the direction of their party, 40 percent of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents want the party to become more conservative, 34 percent want it to stay the same and 24 percent want it to become more moderate.

4.) Democrats' Political Direction: When it comes to the direction of their party, 34 percent of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents want the party to become more conservative, 34 percent want it to stay the same and 31 percent want it to become more moderate.

Given the obvious political divide that plagues American politics and the fact that most Americans believe that the nation's partisan divisions are increasing as shown here:

…it should not come as a surprise that a record percentage of Americans believe that the United States needs a viable third party option.

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