When it comes to politics, Americans want more choices. Nearly six of every 10 voting-age people favor creation of a third party, a poll suggests.
In line with that finding, the poll also reported more of its respondents calling themselves independents (37 percent) than Republicans (30 percent) or Democrats (29 percent).
The poll, released Wednesday by the Times Mirror Center for The People and The Press, is just the latest sign of trouble for the two major parties. A recent study of the motor-voter registration program by The Associated Press found independents registering in record numbers in states where party breakdowns are tracked.
“If I were a betting person, I’d say we’re going to have a third-party candidate in the race next year,” said Andrew Kohut, director of the Times Mirror center.
It is much too soon to speculate how well a third-party candidate would do in the presidential contest, since the outcome would depend largely on which candidates the Republicans and a third party might nominate to run against President Clinton - and whether Clinton faces a serious challenge for the Democratic nomination.
The economy and the success or failure of various issues before Congress will also have an impact. Right now, the poll suggests, voting-age Americans have decidedly mixed feelings.
A solid 59 percent believe Republicans have kept their campaign promises and 52 percent are happy the GOP controls Congress.
But only 39 percent say Republicans care more about them, compared with 49 percent who say the Democrats do. And only 44 percent approve of “the policies and proposals of the Republican leaders in Congress.”
By wide margins, respondents said House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole have more power and influence in Washington politics than Clinton.
xxxx About the poll The poll was based on telephone interviews with 1,800 adults from April 6 to April 9. Results based on the entire sample have a margin of error of 2.5 percentage points in each direction.