Republicans are suddenly liking the idea of a third party. As the party remains bitterly divided over former President Donald Trump, some apparently believe it’s time to call it quits on the GOP. A Gallup poll released Monday revealed that 63 percent of Republicans think a new third party is needed, marking a huge jump from September of last year, when only 40 percent of Republicans felt the same way. The number marks a record high for members of either party since Gallup started asking the question in 2003. The previous high was from 2018, when 54 percent of Democrats said they wanted a third party.
Overall, 62 percent of Americans think a third party is needed, a record high although it came very close to the number recorded in 2017, when 61 percent felt the same way. That compares to 33 percent who say the two existing major parties do an “adequate” job of representing the majority of political views in the country. That is the smallest percentage of Americans who feel this way since October, 2013, when it was at 26 percent. That dynamic has led to a rise in adults who identify as political independents, which now stands at 50 percent, the highest ever in a single poll.
Republicans increasingly want a third option but almost 70 percent want Trump to remain as the leader of the party, compared to 31 percent who want a new leader. Even though some anti-Trump Republicans have flirted with the idea of a more moderate option, more Republicans want the party to move to the right. While 40 percent of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents want the party to become more conservative, 34 percent want it to stay the same, and 24 percent think it should become more moderate. In contrast, Democrats are more evenly split, with 34 percent saying they want the party to become more liberal and 34 percent saying it should be more moderate.
This latest poll was published a few days after a CBS/YouGov poll revealed that two-thirds of Republicans would consider joining a new party if Trump decided to form one. While 33 percent said they would consider joining, 37 percent said they may consider it, and 30 percent said they would not.