For all of the talk about Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders potentially running as third-party candidates in this year’s presidential election, most voters aren’t betting on a third-party candidate taking the White House anytime soon.
Just 36 percent of 1,000 likely U.S. voters participating in a recent national survey believe it’s at least somewhat likely that a third-party candidate could win the presidency in the next 10 years, with 12 percent who think it’s Very Likely. Fifty-six percent consider this scenario unlikely, although that includes just 16 percent who say it’s Not At All Likely.
In late 2011, 53 percent said it was likely that a third-party candidate could win the presidency in the next 10 to 12 years, but only 1 percent thought that was Very Likely.
A plurality of voters (44 percent) thinks it would be good for the United States to have a truly competitive third party, but that’s down from 58 percent in 2007. Twenty-three percent believe it would be bad for the country, but just as many (23 percent) say it would make no political difference. Ten percent aren't sure.