Nice GOP debate last night, but then there's this (One in three favor third party) 

Yes, that was an interesting evening of polite, sometimes incisive, discussion by the current lineup of Republican aspirants for the White House, but now back to reality - New Rasmussen Reports survey finds one in three voters would go third party if the current lineup of candidates remains unchanged.

"A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 30 percent of Likely U.S. Voters, given a choice between President Obama and one of the potential Republican presidential candidates, thinks 2012 would be a good year to consider electing a third-party candidate," Rasmussen said.

"Fifty-three percent disagree and say electing a third-party candidate would not be a good option with the current likely candidates. Another 18 percent aren’t sure," Rasmussen said.

"A plurality, 46 percent, of voters not affiliated with either major political party favor the idea of electing a third-party candidate if faced with a match-up of Obama and one of the likely GOP candidates," he said.

"Fifty-one percent of Republicans and 69 percent of Democrats, on the other hand, don’t think 2012 is shaping up as a good year to consider electing a third-party nominee."

It's not unusual, at least in recent years, for a significant portion of the electorate to express "all of the above" dissatisfaction with a presidential field, especially this far out from the actual voting. And once the two major parties pick their candidates, the percentage of third-party advocates tends to drop, usually dramatically.

But keep an eye on this factor. If the percentage remains steady or falls only marginally, it could be an inidication that the 2012 election is very much up in the air and will be decided by how this group of very unhappy voters finally comes down.

For the complete Rasmussen Reports results, including question wording, go here.

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Mark Tapscott

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