Reflecting dissatisfaction with the two major political parties in Washington amid the ongoing government shutdown, the results of a Gallup poll released Friday showed the desire for a third major party at a record high.
The poll showed that 60 percent of Americans think the Democratic and Republicans parties do such a poor job of representing the American people that a third major party is needed, above the previous record high of 58 percent.
Meanwhile, just 26 percent of Americans believe the two major parties do an adequate job of representing the people, a new record low.
The release of the poll results comes as lawmakers continue to struggle to end the government shutdown that began at the start of the month.
Independents are significantly more likely to say the U.S. needs a third party, although about half of both Democrats and Republicans agree.
Gallup said the previous peak in support for a third party came in August 2010, when the Tea Party movement was emerging as a political force.
The surge in support for a third party comes as the government shutdown and the debate over raising the debt ceiling has led to a jump in dissatisfaction with the way the nation is being governed.
A separate Gallup poll released Thursday showed that 81 percent of Americans are dissatisfied with the way the nation is being governed compared to just 18 percent that are satisfied.
However, Gallup Managing Editor Jeffrey Jones noted that the perceived need for a third party is not sufficient to ensure there will be one.
"Structural factors in the U.S. election system and the parties' own abilities to adapt to changing public preferences have helped the Republican and Democratic parties to remain the dominant parties in U.S. government for more than 150 years," Jones said.
He added, "Third parties that have emerged to challenge their dominance have not been able to sustain any degree of electoral success."
The Gallup survey of 1,028 adults was conducted October 3rd through 6th and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.
by RTT Staff Writer
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