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Poll: Nearly Half of Americans Say It’s Time for a Third Party

Comstock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Nearly half of Americans say it’s time for a new major political party, according to the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll, and nearly seven in 10 say they’d at least consider voting for its candidate for president.  The question remains, however, whether such a candidate, if one emerges, could in fact break the habit of traditional party loyalties.

Other results in Friday's poll suggest it’d be a challenge.  Just 22 percent say they’d definitely support a third-party candidate, even given one, “with whom you agree on most issues.”  More, 28 percent, say they definitely would not support such a candidate, agreement on the issues notwithstanding.  The rest would simply consider it.

Interest in a third-party candidate comes disproportionately from independents -- a group that’s grown to record heights in recent years, but also is less likely to vote. Overall, 48 percent of Americans think the country needs a third party, ranging from 61 percent of independents to 36 and 40 percent of Democrats and Republicans, respectively.

Moreover, fewer than one in three adults -- 29 percent -- feel “strongly” that a third party is needed, including fewer than half of independents, 40 percent.  That raises the question of whether efforts to build one would have enough backing to succeed.

The poll, produced for ABC by Langer Research Associates, also finds that even among independents, just 28 percent say they’d definitely vote for a third-party candidate with whom they agreed on most issues.  That’s more than the share of Democrats or Republicans who say so (15 and 19 percent), but hardly an overwhelming show of support. 

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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