Picture credit - JSTOR Daily

Gallup has been asking Americans, off-and-on, since 2003, and every year since 2006 the following question:

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?

As a plurality, Americans say they want a third choice.

Most Americans, found in a recent Gallup Poll, 57 percent say there is a strong need for a viable third political party.

Picture credit – Gallup Data on Third Party, 2018 results

About 38 percent of Americans responding to the poll said they think the two-party system does a good job of representing people.

Over five consecutive years, the poll says that political discontent in the country has been growing.

More than 40 percent continued to feel this way on occasion through 2012, but since then no more than 38 percent believe the two parties are adequate while as many as 61 percent have said a third party is needed.

Support for third-party highest among Independents – 

In October of 2017, Gallup found that 31 percent of Americans identified as Democratic, 24 percent identified as Republican, and 42 percent as Independent.

This recent poll from Gallup, conducted between Sept. 4 through Sept. 12, Independent voters are more likely to be highly supportive of a third party.

Democrats and Republicans support for a third party growing – 

Democrats and Republicans often reveal similar support for having a viable third party, but this year is distinctive. According to Gallup, there is a 16-percentage-point gap between the two partisan groups with 54 percent of the Democrats and 38 percent of Republicans would support a third major political party. A similar gap was seen from 2003-2006 when the Republicans also held control of both the White House and Congress.


Gallup Polls Methodology –

Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted Sept. 4-12, 2018, with a random sample of 1,035 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. For results based on the total sample of national adults, the margin of sampling error is ±4 percentage points at the 95% confidence level. All reported margins of sampling error include computed design effects for weighting.

Each sample of national adults includes a minimum quota of 70% cellphone respondents and 30% landline respondents, with additional minimum quotas by time zone within region. Landline and cellular telephone numbers are selected using random-digit-dial methods.

Complete survey questions –

View complete question responses and trends.



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