Third Party: Yes; Bloomberg: No
For those of us who think the country could benefit from a third political party, it appears that a large number of Americans agree with you.
A new NEWSWEEK Poll, conducted Wednesday and Thursday nights, suggests a majority of registered voters agree with Bloomberg: 57 percent say the two-party system does not do a good job addressing issues important to Americans, according to the poll. The same percentage of registered voters say the country needs a third political party. That's up from 46 percent in 2003—and virtually identical to the 58 percent who said they favored a third party back in 1996, the year Ross Perot mounted his second independent run for the presidency.
The poll did not indicate that New York mayor Michael Bloomberg was the man to lead a third party effort, but it did indicate that if Bloomberg mounted such an effort, he would harm Republicans more than Democrats.
For all the ardor for a third party, Bloomberg would not change the electoral calculus much, according to the poll. When his name is added to the head-to-head matchups between each of the leading Republicans and the leading Democrats, Bloomberg consistently draws about 4 or 5 points from the Democrats and 5 to 10 points (in the case of McCain vs. Clinton) from the Republicans.
But the Newsweek poll showed something else that is even more troubling to the GOP: every one of the top three Democrats now beats everyone of the top three Republicans in trial heats.
Coming just one day after the last NEWSWEEK Poll found President George W. Bush plagued by the worst presidential approval ratings since Richard Nixon, the new poll finds that every leading Republican candidate for the presidency in 2008 would lose to each of the leading Democrats. Hillary Clinton would defeat Rudy Giuliani by 7 points among registered voters: 51 percent to 44 percent. Giuliani comes up short against Obama (49 to 44) and Edwards (48 to 46).
John McCain loses to each of the leading Democrats by the same or slightly larger margins. And former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney loses by the largest margins of all—trailing Clinton by 15 points, Obama by 16 and Edwards by 21.And if the GOP wants to stay awake at night, there’s this:
In each of the trial heats, the Republican candidate's lead in Red States—i.e., states carried by Bush in 2004—is slim or nonexistent, suggesting the GOP is in trouble even in traditionally friendly terrain. (Each of the Democratic candidates polled well in states carried by Democratic nominee John Kerry in 2004.)
We’ve heard a lot from trolls lately that although the public tells pollsters they prefer the Democrats in a generic ballot question for 2008, those leads evaporate when actual head-to-head matchups are put before voters. This poll shows that this is no longer true, even after whatever negative crap the conservative corporate Mighty Wurlitzer has churned out against Hillary. Obama, and Edwards this month.