The growing protest of Occupy Wall Street on the left and the growing strength of the tea party on the right show the yearning of many Americans for a new voice: a third-party presidential candidate, says star Democratic strategist and pollster Doug Schoen.
“The signs of dissatisfaction, disaffection and just plain discontent are everywhere in America today,” Schoen writes on Politico
. “Occupy Wall Street and the tea party movement could not be more different. But both reflect the public’s fundamental dissatisfaction with the state of U.S. life and governance. That disaffection is creating circumstances which make an alternative third party particularly appealing for 2012.”
Polls show that Americans are disgusted with political leaders in both parties, observes Schoen, who worked for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign in 2008.
For instance, a Gallup poll last month showed a record-high 81 percent of Americans are dissatisfied with the way the country is being governed. Confidence in Congress touched a new nadir of 31 percent in September. And President Barack Obama’s approval rating has dropped below 40 percent.
As a result, “there is good reason to believe that a credible third party may be on the ballot in 2012 and would garner far more support than most political analysts would expect,” Schoen writes.
Schoen recently conducted a poll for Americans Elect, which plans an Internet convention to select a third presidential ticket for 2012. It already is working toward ballot access in all 50 states.
The survey showed that 57 percent of voters see a need for a third party, while only 25 percent think Democrats and Republicans are getting the job done. And 58 percent support the idea of a third presidential ticket, compared with 13 percent who don’t.
“Voters desperately want the opportunity to change the political system,” Schoen writes. “Polling showed they are looking for their voices to be heard by electing a centrist alternative to the Democratic and Republican presidential tickets in 2012. They believe, our results show, that this could force the two parties to work together, bringing logical ideas from both.”
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