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Pew Research Poll Shows 37% of U.S. Adults Want More Choices on the Ballot

According to a recent survey conducted by the Pew Research Center among 8,480 U.S. adults, 37% of respondents expressed a desire for more political parties to appear on the ballot. Notably, the support for additional parties was highest among adults under 50. More specifically, 48% of respondents under 30 and 46% of those aged between 30 and 49 indicated a preference for having more choices.

Pew Research surveyed a total of 8,480 U.S. adults (out of an initial sample of 10,069) between July 10 and 16, 2023, and released an examination of its elections-specific data on October 19, 2023. Of that total figure of adults, 28% identified with the Republican Party, 28% identified with the Democratic Party, 28% identified as independents, 15% identified with a third party, and two percent (2%) did not answer.

A further analysis of a smaller sample of 4,233 adults found that a narrow plurality of respondents, at 26%, believed that having more than two options on the ballot would make solving the country’s current problems easier. In contrast, a nearly equal quarter of respondents, at 25%, felt more options on the ballot would make no difference. Similarly, an equally close group of 24% of respondents believed it would make problem-solving more difficult.

In line with earlier patterns, adults under 50 years of age held a greater willingness to consider more options on the ballot. A plurality of adults aged 18 to 29, comprising 39%, and a plurality of adults aged 30 to 49, at 32%, expressed the belief that voters having more choices on the ballot would improve addressing current problems.

The survey further examined the state of political discourse in the United States and found that a majority of respondents deem political discussions with individuals who hold differing beliefs “stressful and frustrating,” with 61% of those asked expressing such a sentiment. Additionally, 84% of respondents believed that the overall tone of political debate in the United States had worsened, becoming more disrespectful, and 75% thought conversations had become less fact-based.

Regarding ways to improve the current situation, the survey additionally looked at examples of election reform and found that, out of the larger total group, the following solutions held a net favorability among all adults:

  • Limiting the number of terms that members of Congress can serve (81%)
  • Requiring all voters to show government-issued photo identification to vote (76%)
  • Automatically registering all eligible citizens to vote (62%)

Alternatively, a net of those surveyed found a new disapproval rating for a proposal increasing the number of justices on the Supreme Court (51%).

Pew Research also examined what adults look for in their candidates, their current thoughts on the United States government, and the favorability ratings of the Republican and Democratic Parties. Readers of Independent Political Report can read the full Pew Research article here.

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