Third Parties: Loved in Theory, Not Practice, if Gallup is Our Guide; Libertarian Gary Johnson Polls Three Percent


As Matt Welch blogged a couple of years ago, Gallup can reliably get big numbers of Americans to say we need a viable third party–58 percent two years ago.

Yet a poll released today from Gallup that specifically asks about third party candidates Gary Johnson (Libertarian), Jill Stein (Green), and Virgil Goode (Constitution) finds support topping off for any specific such candidate at 3 percent, for Johnson. Stein got 1 percent and Goode less than half a percent.

Republican Ron Paul, who they did not ask about, was volunteered by 2 percent. (See my new book about him, Ron Paul's Revolution: The Man and the Movement He Inspired.)

Sadly, this Gallup also indicates that historically, polled support for third party candidates in June tends to drop by half when actual voting occurs.

I wrote in 2004 about third parties as consumption expenditures on the part of their devotees.