Two Different New Polls: 20% of Americans would Vote Third Party over Trump and Clinton

Leon H. Wolf // Posted at 9:30 am on May 22, 2016

In the last week, two different polls have shown the same thing – 20% of Americans profess a willingness to vote for a generic, unidentified “independent” or third party candidate over Trump and Clinton. Both polls showed that such a hypothetical matchup would be a virtual tie between Trump and Clinton, with the third party candidate lagging behind.

Here are the results of the poll, released Saturday, by the New York-based Schoen Consulting firm:

Who would you support for president?

  • Trump: 33 percent.
  • Clinton: 33 percent.
  • Independent candidate: 20 percent.
  • Not sure: 14 percent.

The Schoen Consulting results mirror those released last Wednesday by Data Targeting Inc., a pollster based in Gainesville, Fla.

Who would you support for president?

  • Trump: 34 percent.
  • Clinton: 31 percent.
  • Independent: 21 percent.
  • Not sure: 14 percent.

Of course, poll testing an unnamed independent candidate is different from poll testing an actual independent candidate. Presumably, what this poll is showing is the total number of Democrats and Republicans who would vote for an alternative to their own party, if one exists.

So, while disaffected Democrats would likely vote for Bernie as a third party candidate, disaffected Republicans would not. Meanwhile, disaffected Republicans would likely vote for someone like Tom Coburn, but disaffected Dems would not. And obviously, tons of third party independent candidates already exist, the most notable of which being the Libertarian Party, and Gary Johnson isn’t polling at 20%.

In other words, in order to make these poll numbers a reality, it would likely take TWO independent third party candidates, other than the ones who are already in play (Libertarian, Green, whatever). Still, it shows a remarkable appetite in this country for an outside the box challenge to two extremely unpopular candidates.