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Fifty-two percent of Americans believe the Republican and Democratic parties do such a poor job of representing the people that a third party is needed. Forty percent believe they do an adequate job. The percentage calling for a third party is down from August, when it tied its high of 58%.
Majority of Republicans Back Third Party for First Time
Gallup has always found political independents to be most desirous of a third party, and 68% currently are. But right now there is also a significant party gap, with 52% of Republicans favoring a third party, compared with 33% of Democrats. This is the first time Gallup finds a significantly higher percentage of Republicans than Democrats in favor of a third party. During much of President Bush's term, the opposite was true, with Democrats more likely to favor the formation of a third party.
Tea Party Supporters More in Favor of Third Party
The increase in Republican support for a third party since 2008 could be an outgrowth of the Tea Party movement, which is closely aligned with the GOP. The poll, which also assessed Americans' orientation toward the movement, finds 60% of those who identify themselves as Tea Party supporters in favor of a third party, compared with 44% of Tea Party opponents.