A majority of Americans believe a third major political party is needed due to the poor performance of the Republican and Democratic parties.
A recent Gallup poll showed that 60 percent of Americans believe a third party is needed — matching the record high set in 2013.
These latest results come as both the Democratic and Republican parties are experiencing formidable challenges in the 2016 presidential race from unlikely corners of their ranks, including several candidates who have never been elected to a political office. On the Democratic side, independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders has drawn a large following from left-leaning Americans.
In the Republican nomination contest, real estate mogul Donald Trump has rocked his GOP competitors with personal attacks and unconventional political statements, and Dr. Ben Carson and former business executive Carly Fiorina are now among the front-runners for their party's nomination.
None of these candidates has said they will seek a third-party bid for the presidency if they don't receive the nomination, but their popularity supports the idea that Americans may be willing to consider candidates outside of the pool of typical politicians.
According to the poll, Americans have been keen on the idea of a third party for at least 10 years.
“When Gallup first asked whether a third party is needed in 2003, four in 10 Americans said it was. The figure climbed in subsequent polls, reaching a majority of 58% in 2007,” Gallup stated. “With the exception of presidential election years in 2008 and 2012, majorities of 52% to 60% of Americans have said a third party is needed to address the inadequacies of the Republican and Democratic parties.”
With Donald Trump recently becoming the presumptive GOP nominee, the Republican party in particular has become increasingly divided. Gary Johnson told ABC News that he believes a Libertarian party is needed more than ever.
“I think it is a real opportunity,” Johnson said. “I do think that Clinton and Trump are the two most polarizing figures in politics today.”