Civic Discontent and the Limitations of Binary Political Analysis

The third party and independent news feeds lit up today with the release of a new Gallup poll showing record high levels of support for a third party alternative to the Republicans and Democrats among self-described Republicans and Tea Party activists:
Gallup has always found political independents to be most desirous of a third party, and 68% currently are. But right now there is also a significant party gap, with 52% of Republicans favoring a third party, compared with 33% of Democrats.

This is the first time Gallup finds a significantly higher percentage of Republicans than Democrats in favor of a third party. During much of President Bush's term, the opposite was true, with Democrats more likely to favor the formation of a third party. That gap narrowed in 2007, after the Democrats' victories in the 2006 midterms, and there has been a minimal difference between the two parties until the current poll . . .
The increase in Republican support for a third party since 2008 could be an outgrowth of the Tea Party movement, which is closely aligned with the GOP. The poll . . . finds 60% of those who identify themselves as Tea Party supporters in favor of a third party
The results were confusing to dead-enders of the major parties such as Allahpundit at Hot Air.  Excerpt:
My assumption is that partisan support for a third party should spike when a party is out of power and has nothing to lose by splitting (or flirting with splitting) over ideology . . . Conversely, partisan support for a third party should crater when a party is in power and looking to hold together to preserve its legislative majority — or so I would have guessed. But neither the Democratic nor the Republican trend line follows that prediction. From 2008 to 2010, despite total control of government, Democrats’ support for a third party rose seven points. Republican support for a third party also rose by seven points when they had total control of government from 2003 to 2006.
Allahpundit thus neatly demonstrates that, over the last decade, support for a third party has increased across partisan lines no matter what the party composition of government was.  This reveals the limitations of the standard binary system of political thought common to Democrats, Republicans and their mouthpieces in the political press.  As support for the ruling parties drops, it stands to reason that the traditional partisan political matrix would arguably become an ever more unreliable analytical tool.  Though the poll found that there were significant disparities among Independents, Republicans and Democrats in their levels of support for something other than the misrule of the reigning two-party state, the results were remarkably consistent when broken down by ideology rather than partisan affiliation.  From Gallup:
Gallup currently finds essentially no differences in support for a third party by political ideology, with 51% of conservatives, 52% of moderates, and 52% of liberals in favor. Over time, the ideological groups' positions have converged, with conservatives becoming more supportive.
In other words, a majority of Americans on the left, right and center recognize that the Democrat-Republican two-party state and duopoly system of government does not in fact represent the interests of the American people.

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