Half of Voters Open to Third-Party Candidate in Troubling Sign For Biden

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

(Bloomberg) -- Almost half of US voters — 47% — say they would consider voting for a third-party candidate for president next year, signaling a dissatisfaction with a potential rematch between President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump.

Most Read from Bloomberg

Those findings, in a Quinnipiac University Poll released Wednesday, could open a lane for any spoiler to impact the election as the group No Labels is actively floating the prospect of a third-party bid.

No Labels is currently organized as a centrist advocacy group, not a political party. But the group has openly floated the possibility of fielding a candidate as an alternative to two unpopular major-party candidates. West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin, a conservative Democrat, appeared at a No Labels event in New Hampshire this week, fueling speculation he could emerge as that candidate.

Biden isn’t facing a serious challenge for the Democratic nomination, and polls show Trump as the clear frontrunner in the GOP primary.

Biden, though, probably has the most to lose from a third party, because voters who dislike both of the potential major candidates tend to be Democrats or Democratic-leaning independents.

“This Quinnipiac poll is telling the same story other polls have told for months: There is an unprecedented opening for an independent ticket in 2024,” said No Labels spokeswoman Maryanne Martini.

It’s hard to know how any specific third-party candidate would fare until his or her name and affiliation is on the ballot, said Quinnipiac pollster Tim Malloy.

“But it is a vivid indication that for many voters, the status quo is a no-go,” he said.

In addition to a potential No Labels candidate, Ivy League academic and progressive activist Cornel West has launched an independent bid for president and is seeking the endorsement of the Green Party with the help of its 2016 candidate, Jill Stein. Many Democrats blame Stein for siphoning votes from Hillary Clinton and opening a path to victory for Trump that year.

Read more: Jill Stein, 2016 Green Candidate, Now Running Cornel West’s Bid

The dissatisfaction with the two parties is mostly consistent across demographic groups. Appetite for a third-party candidate is highest among voters aged 35 to 49, and lowest among those over 65.

(Adds No Labels comment in sixth paragraph)

Most Read from Bloomberg Businessweek

©2023 Bloomberg L.P.