A new Gallup poll finds record-high support for a third party, and it's no surprise that nearly seven out of ten Republicans think it's time for another party to enter the mix as the GOP as we know it continues to mutate into whatever Trump cult versus greedy corporate mud fight that will play out in the months ahead.
Americans' desire for a third party has ticked up since last fall and now sits at a high in Gallup's trend. Sixty-two percent of U.S. adults say the "parties do such a poor job representing the American people that a third party is needed," an increase from 57% in September. Support for a third party has been elevated in recent years, including readings of 60% in 2013 and 2015 and 61% in 2017.
Meanwhile, 33% of Americans believe the two major political parties are doing an adequate job representing the public, the smallest percentage expressing this view apart from the 26% reading in October 2013.
The latest results are from a Jan. 21-Feb. 2 poll. The survey was conducted before recent news reports that dozens of government officials in prior Republican administrations were in discussions to form an anti-Donald Trump third political party.
The survey found Americans' favorable opinion of the Republican Party has declined to 37%, while 48% view the Democratic Party positively. The poll also shows 50% of U.S. adults identifying as political independents, the highest percentage Gallup has ever measured in a single poll.
Gallup first asked about the need for a third party in 2003. At that time, most Americans did not think it was necessary, with 56% saying the parties were doing an adequate job representing the American people and 40% saying a third party was needed.
In several election years -- 2006, 2008 and 2012 -- Americans were divided as to whether a third party was needed, but since 2012, Americans have consistently favored the idea.
Independents are usually much more likely than Republicans or Democrats to favor a third political party, but in the current poll, Republicans are nearly as likely as independents to hold this view, 63% to 70%. That represents a dramatic shift for Republicans since last September when 40% favored a third party.
Republicans' current level of support for a third party is also the highest Gallup has measured for Republicans or Democrats in Gallup's trend. The previous high was 54% for Democrats in 2018. Currently, 46% of Democrats endorse a third party, down from 52% in September.
The ongoing problem with a third party is of course "What does the third party represent" and what Republicans want from a third party is definitely different from what Democrats may want from one.
Current Republicans want either a Trump Patriot MAGA white supremacist fascist party, or they want the 2015 version of it before Trump took over, which is only slightly less racist and dangerous, and they want the other side banished from "their" party.
If that happens, well I'm glad to see the crackup that makes the Dems stronger, but frankly I would suspect they would all caucus together anyway.