What Americans Think About the Prospect of a Third Major Political Party in the United States

Last week, a new political party, Forwardwas launched by a bipartisan group of founders, including former Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang and former Republican New Jersey Governor Christine Todd Whitman. The latest Economist/YouGov poll reveals that Americans generally have a positive view of the value that a third major party would add to the American political system. Nearly half of Americans say they would vote for a third party or independent candidate, although only about a third say they have done so in the past.

When asked what they think of a third political party in the United States, more Americans say a third party is necessary (39%) than say that the Democratic and Republican parties are enough to represent the Americans (30%). The rest (31%) are not sure.

Do views on the need for a third party differ between Democrats and Republicans? To test this, we examine how third party interest varies among strong supporters (people who identify strongly with the Democratic or Republican party) as well as supporters (people who do not identify with the Democratic or Republican party, but lean towards him). to party). Across this spectrum, from strong Democrats to strong Republicans, we find that Democrats are more likely to say a third party is needed (62% say it is), while people who identify as strong Republicans are the least likely to see one as necessary (26% do).

Is third-party support driven more by social or economic views? In addition to examining how opinions vary by party affiliation, we also examine the impact of social and economic ideology, that is, a person’s position on social and economic issues. The poll found that belief in the need for a third party is positively related to having liberal views on social issues: people who describe themselves as socially “very liberal” are the most likely to support the formation of a third (61%), while those who say they are ‘very conservative’ are the least likely to support it (31%).

Views on economic issues are less closely tied to third-party interests, although those who self-identify as “very conservative” stand out as being more likely than other groups on the economic ideology spectrum say the current two-party system is good enough to represent Americans (45% say so)

How many Americans voted for a third-party or independent candidate, and how many would be willing to do so? In our latest poll, 31% of Americans say they have voted for a third-party or independent candidate, including 35% of registered voters. Independents — who we define as Americans who don’t identify with either of the two major parties — are more likely to say they voted for a third-party candidate, with 39% saying they did. ‘did. Although slightly less likely to say a third party is needed, Republicans are slightly more likely than Democrats to say they voted for a third party candidate.

Nearly half of Americans (46%) say would have consider voting for a third-party candidate, when only 22% say they would not; 32% say they are unsure. More than half of independents (57%) say they would vote for a third. Smaller proportions of Democrats (41%) and Republicans (40%) say they would consider voting for a third party.

Americans are slightly more likely to have a favorable (31%) than unfavorable (26%) view of Forward party founder Andrew Yang. His net favorability score (percentage in favor minus percentage unfavorable) is higher among Democrats (+25) than among Independents (-3) or Republicans (-16). Nearly half of Independents (49%) and Republicans (46%) say they have no opinion on the Yang.

— Kathy Frankovic, Carl Bialik and Linley Sanders contributed to this article.

This survey was conducted from July 30 to August 2, 2022 among 1,500 adult US citizens. Learn more about the methodology and data from this Economist/YouGov poll.

Image: Getty Images, Drew Angerer / Personal

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