Third Parties

Americans Not Hopeful

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meh

A new Pew poll finds that Americans are feeling very "meh" about political goings-on these days. Says Pew:

Two-thirds of the public is dissatisfied with the way things are going in the country. Fully nine-in-ten say that national economic conditions are only fair or poor, and nearly two-thirds describe their own finances that way—the most since the summer of 1992. An increasing proportion of Americans say that the war in Afghanistan is not going well, and a plurality continues to oppose the health care reform proposals in Congress.

Still Americans polled (rightly) recognize that third parties are not going to save them from this morass. About half of of Americans said they'd like to see some third party action, but that number hasn't changed much in years and hasn't spiked recently. Why? The system isn't structured to admit third parties into the ring, so they don't represent a source of hope.

Strictly speaking, I suppose the correct answer to the question "Should we have a third party in the U.S.?" is "Yes, and I would also like a pony." But neither is likely to happen.

NEXT: Freedom to Confuse

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  1. “Still Americans polled (rightly) …”

    OK, does this mean that Americans who responded to the poll were “correct” (as decreed by Katie) in believing that a 3rd party wasn’t going to save them?

    Or does it mean that the poll is “on the right”?

    Or does it mean that Americans have been “poled” and deservedly so?

    Or does it at least suggest that 50% plus of Americans will agree to anything you ask them?

  2. How can someone who considers himself “Independent” not be in favor of a third party?

    1. Uh…

      1. If I’m reading it correctly, only 70% of people listed as Independent answered yes to the question “Should we have a third party in the US?” Therefore, 30% of Independents aren’t in favor of a third party.

        Are those 30% only independent in the sense that they’ll sometimes vote Republican and sometimes Democrat? Or do they think that they themselves don’t even have a right to exist? Part of the problems with polls like these is we’ll never know the answers to these kinds of questions. And it’s indicative of a larger problem with Democracy itself: people (even those making public policy decisions) are under no obligation to even be self-consistent.

  3. It would be highly unlikely, in any case, that all those who don’t consider themselves Republicans or Democrats could ever get together under a single “third party” banner.
    Why the diversity in opinion would have to be several times larger than in the two major parties we have today.

  4. I can only view “got hope?” bumper stickers with great irony any longer.

    I must then suppress my vicious urge to mercilessly key that car.

  5. Oh, suppress that urge.

    I guess that would lead to fewer arrests.

  6. Jack Cafferty just mentioned a term limits proposal some Republican senators have brought up. Although he agreed with the idea, he was pretty cynical about it. Although I don’t know if you can be sufficiently cynical about the idea of politicians limiting their own power.

    1. You only need to set your cycnicism to “stun,” setting 1, to be cynical enough about politicians voluntarily limiting their own power.

      I usually keep mine on setting 5, “snorting derision.”

  7. Maybe I’ve been imagining it all, but last time I checked there were SEVERAL third parties! The problem isn’t that they don’t exist, it’s that no one votes for them.

    Why don’t folks vote third party? They’re afraid the evil major party might win so they vote for the lesser evil major party just in case. This is explain why nearly all registered Green voters voted for Obama, even in the safest of the blue states.

  8. Maybe I’ve been imagining it all, but last time I checked there were SEVERAL third parties! The problem isn’t that they don’t exist, it’s that no one votes for them.

    Why don’t folks vote third party? They’re afraid the evil major party might win so they vote for the lesser evil major party just in case. This is explain why nearly all registered Green voters voted for Obama, even in the safest of the blue states.

  9. What surprises me most is the lack of third parties at the state and local level. There are a few pockets where third parties have some pull (i.e. Green Party in SF), but it doesn’t seem significant.

    In a country so diverse, it’s odd to me that there isn’t a ‘Texas First’ party or ‘Alaskan Freedom’ party. I grew up in Canada where I saw the growth of 2-3 significant new parties (Reform, Bloc Quebecois, NDP), and am always amazed that there’s not even a hint of that here. In many ways, the system of government here would actually be better equipped to deal with third parties than say a parliamentary system like Canada. Unfortunately, the way elections are run keeps the third parties out.

    1. In a country so diverse, it’s odd to me that there isn’t a ‘Texas First’ party or ‘Alaskan Freedom’ party.

      Alaskan Independence Party

      It even elected a governor once (1990).

  10. OK…I am in a pissed off mood taday ANYWAY. This tripe about “third parties stand no chance, wont win, aren’t a viable option.” It is all self fullfilling bull shit. If you don’t VOTE for them they don’t win. SHOCKER!!! The “wasted vote”/”scared vote” is the dumbest argument EVER…There was NO WAY McDumbass was going to win Mass. So why didn’t all the independents who hated Nobama just vote for the LP or ACP or Greens???? That would have ACTUALLY made a difference.

    In my experience there is a strong third party influence in Colorado. Yes I am biased but I have data. ALSO…that graph demostrates a procedural flaw. If you asked Dems, Reps, and independants…blah blah but didnt account for the fact that the independant voters now outnumber both the Rs and Ds (in Colorado again)then you are missing the point that the same 70% of independents now means more people than it did 10 years ago (or a larger percentage of the total). Charts to follow as soon as I can figure out how to post them.

    I’m MAD AS HELL AND I’M NOT GOING TO TAKE IT ANYMORE!!!!

    1. Considering the bias towards voters who don’t know the difference between ‘every vote counts’ and ‘every vote is counted’, we already know that adding idiots to the process won’t make any difference when it come the quality of political decisions.

      So, relax and enjoy the show.

    2. Oh god. You pissed him off. The soap box, cometh.

    3. The bandit’s chart.

      http://img.photobucket.com/alb…../graph.png

      1. That is the one…this is the growth by party in CO for the last 4 years. Source data is available online at the CO SoS.

        CHECK IT BIATHCES

        Month REP DEM UNAFF
        2004-01 1,042,296 852,910 907,602
        2008-10 1,063,347 1,051,643 1,069,294

  11. Incidenteally:
    LP went from 5,769 to 10,950 in the exact same timeframe.

    BACK OFF MY THIRD PARTIES!!!

    1. I stopped going to the local LP meetings when it became clear that nobody was willing to accidentally leave a M18A1 under Bob Barr’s car-seat.

  12. Third parties are bad. The Nazis were a third party.

  13. I kid, I kid! I vote LP regularly, enjoying the protest vote immensely. Though I intend to vote straight gridlock (i.e., GOP) for Congress next year.

  14. America is doomed (?) to a two-party system; an unpleasant fact, but there it is. All third parties do is to siphon support from the conservative base. What we need to do is hijack the Republican party and put it back to rights.

    1. While you do that, I’ll encourage everybody to vote for the candidate who promises that more government is the solution to all problems.

      Analog to unsigned 16-bit integers wrapping around at 65536, there is only a finite amount of matter in the universe to physically hold information, so sooner or later the number representing the size of the government budget will be zero.

    2. Perot siphoned more republicans than democrats.

  15. Pro Lib – it probably won’t matter, because there are seldom any (L) candidates other than President or Water Commissioner in Florida anyway.

    I’m still registered (R), from way back in 2008 when I voted for Paul. I’ll check the FL laws – if I can help the Libertarian Party gain ballot access by changing my registration back, I will. Otherwise, I’ll stay (R) and vote for any CFL Republicans in the primaries. Unless they win, however, I doubt I could stomach voting (R) in the regular election.

  16. It’s a shame that graph leaves out the relative size of each group of people. IIRC, the “Independents” are the largest group by far, and their support for 3rd parties is listed at 70%, the highest ever.

  17. But everyone voted for hope only a year ago. How fleeting is public sentiment.

  18. I dont even get the point of this poll. We already have a 3rd and 4th and 5th and etc parties.

  19. I’m still registered (R), from way back in 2008 when I voted for Paul.

    Ditto. And it felt dirty registering R. I had been a registered D, from back when I first registered in the 80s (it was KY, the D primary WAS the election – even when Rs won, they didnt have primary challengers).

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