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Poll: 46 percent of Americans want a third party

Political observers have long debated: Should American politics have a third major political party? A recent Gallup poll shows that 46 percent of Americans today believe the answer is yes.

However, this is down from the percentage of people who believed we needed a third party candidate in September 2011, a solid 55 percent.

The number of people who believe that the two existing major parties — the Republicans and Democrats — are doing an adequate job of representing the American people was at 45 percent this month, rising from 38 percent during the same time last year.

“Americans generally tend to support the idea that a third major party is needed on the American political scene, although such support today, at 46%, is lower than it has been over the past two years, perhaps because the poll was conducted in a presidential election year, shortly after the Republican and Democratic conventions,” Gallup notes.

Independents are the most likely to support a major third party, with 58 percent this month saying America needed one, the second lowest proportion recorded since 2003.

“As would be expected, Americans who have the weakest ties to either of the two major parties — independents — are consistently more likely to favor having a third party,” according to Gallup.

Among Democrats and Republicans support for a third party is lower, at 40 percent and 36 percent respectively.

However, no third party candidate received a significant amount of support in the poll. Libertarian Party nominee Gary Johnson, Green Party candidate Jill Stein and the Constitution Party’s Virgil Goode each got only one percent support. President Barack Obama took 50 percent to Republican challenger Mitt Romney’s 43 percent.

“Despite Americans’ attitudes, no third-party candidate who garners a significant level of support has emerged,” notes Gallup. “The vast majority of votes in this year’s Nov. 6 presidential election, it follows, are likely to be cast for either Barack Obama or Mitt Romney.”

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