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Exit polls: 37% of today’s GOP primary voters would seriously consider third party in Trump vs. Clinton race

Image: ABC News

See additional coverage here at Washington Post:

On Tuesday morning, Politico reported that a group of prominent conservatives was trying to develop a strategy to run a third-party candidate against Trump, should he win the nomination. The plan is in the “embryonic” stage, according to Politico’s Shane Goldmacher, but perhaps there is at least an option to give those Republicans looking for a third party something to look at.

Or, perhaps not. When Michael Bloomberg was still considering a third-party bid, MSNBC’s Benjy Sarlin looked at what it would take to get on the ballot. In Texas, for example, an independent candidate would need tens of thousands of signatures by May 9 in order to get on the ballot. A more likely scenario would be finding a candidate who could run on a party line that’s already likely to qualify for the ballot in enough states to make a difference. Sarlin points out that the Libertarian Party will likely hit that mark — meaning that conservatives could find themselves in the unusual position of encouraging Republicans to avoid the Republican candidate for president and vote for the Libertarian, at least this once. If they find a candidate. And if everything else falls into line.

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Andy Craig


  1. Thomas L. Knapp Thomas L. Knapp March 18, 2016

    Every election year, there are polls showing large groups of voters who “want a third party” or “would consider voting for a third party.”

    Most of the time, those numbers evaporate as election day approaches.

    This year, maybe the sentiment will persist because the major party nominees are exceptionally ugly in the views of large segments of their parties’ bases.

    Or maybe it will be business as usual. We won’t know until we know.

    Of course, we should act on the assumption that those people ARE available to us, and pursue them.

    But we should also avoid inciting an irrational exuberance among our activists that will spin many of them into a politically terminal funk if it just doesn’t happen.

  2. JohnJeremyVines JohnJeremyVines March 16, 2016

    1)They didn’t survey the Democrats? Hard to imagine a lot of Sanders supporters backing Hillary in November.
    2) Yeah, such an unconscionable general election match-up probably would result in record low turnout.
    Then again, I thought the same thing about 2012.

  3. Marc Marc March 15, 2016

    If Trump is not the Republican nominee and he does not run 3rd party –then to hell with it all — I am voting Hillary. And TRUST when I say –there’s a LOT of people that feel that way.

  4. Stewart Flood Stewart Flood March 15, 2016

    It probably is significantly higher. Perot’s numbers could easily be doubled if the public knew there was a choice.

  5. jstryder jstryder March 15, 2016

    It’s too late to pack the California LP Convention with conservative delegate candidates (CA has a 90-day rule). But with the National LP convention 2500 miles away in Orlando, the California delegation may be relatively small this year. If you’re a California LP member on the fence about going to Orlando, think “Bob Barr” and attend if only to help prevent another such debacle, or worse.

    To be elected a delegate to National, attend the California Convention April 1-3. It’s likely there will be a seat for every member willing and able to make the trip.

  6. Robert Capozzi Robert Capozzi March 15, 2016

    I note that this survey only includes primary voters. The number might be significantly higher among ALL voters. Of course, the third party candidate would need to be a plausible president, compelling in some way, in order to cash in on this level of discontent with the two major parties and their candidates.

  7. Losty Losty March 15, 2016

    From their point of view, Looking at our crop of candidates, It may not bad a bad idea for them.

    And Helping with the party’s funding “issues”…

  8. George Phillies George Phillies March 15, 2016

    This is interesting news, though one might wonder how many different third parties would be needed to pick up these votes.

  9. Bondurant Bondurant March 15, 2016

    Curious if Trump v Clinton would lead to record low turnout. People claim to desire change, many threat to vote third party but isn’t this always the case? If anything I think more people will stay home on election night. I would love, however, to see record numbers for Libertarians.

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