A plurality of 43% of respondents also indicated that they would be interested in voting for a third party or an independent candidate (neither Democrat nor Republican) in the next presidential election.
- Yes: 43%
- No: 30%
- Not sure: 27%
The results are particularly interesting in the light of the recent rise in disaffiliated people from the Republican Party, although the results do not clarify where exactly the disenchantment with the two-party system comes from, whether it is a new phenomenon and whether interest has increased recently among some voters more than others.
Perhaps not unexpectedly, the independents are the cohort most favorable to the addition of other parties. Here is the membership breakdown of the 48% of respondents who said more parties were needed:
- Independent: 60%
- Democrat: 48%
- Republicans: 36%
Likewise, Independents were the least likely to say having only two parties was “good” at 13%, while 29% of Democrats and 27% of Republicans said the status quo was okay.
But when it came to expressing interest in voting for a third-party presidential candidate, interest declined dramatically among Democrats and somewhat higher among Republicans, while independents continued to show the greatest interest. . Here is the breakdown when people were asked if they would be “interested in voting for a third party or an independent candidate (neither Democrat nor Republican) in the next presidential election.”
- Independent: 66%
- Republican: 41%
- Democrat: 25%
The 23-point gap between Democrats who believe another party is needed and those who would actually consider voting for a third-party presidential candidate in the next cycle could reflect the fact that Democratic voters remain keenly aware of the potential consequences of not stick to the top of the ticket.
What is perhaps more mysterious is that Republicans express relatively high interest in a third-party candidate – is this more the case with old-guard Romney Republicans, Trumpers who tend to dislike Republicans establishment, or a healthy mix of the two?
Finally, the great interest of Independents suggests that any candidacy from a third party is likely to siphon votes from both a Democratic and Republican presidential candidate. But it’s impossible to know whether a third-party candidate would attract more Democratic or Republican leanings. It will surely depend on the candidates running and on a better understanding of the political tendencies of the growing number of people who now identify themselves as independent. In short, it’s complicated.