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30% Like Third-Party Option Given Current 2012 Presidential Candidates

Nearly one-in-three voters don’t like the way the 2012 presidential race is shaping up for now in the two major political parties.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 30% 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. Fifty-three percent (53%) disagree and say electing a third-party candidate would not be a good option with the current likely candidates. Another 18% aren’t sure. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

A plurality (46%) 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.

Fifty-one percent (51%) of Republicans and 69% of Democrats, on the other hand, don’t think 2012 is shaping up as a good year to consider electing a third-party nominee.

Fifty-four percent (54%) of voters view Obama as qualified to be president, but former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney is the only Republican 2012 hopeful that a sizable number of voters considers qualified for the White House. Forty-nine percent (49%) say Romney is qualified to be president. 

In weekly surveys since the beginning of May, however, support for both the president and a generic Republican have remained in the narrow range of 42% to 45% in hypothetical 2012 election matchups. Last week was the second week in a row where the generic Republican edged ahead of the president.

“This data reminds us that Election 2012 is first and foremost going to be a referendum on President Obama,” noted Scott Rasmussen, president of Rasmussen Reports. “His record and the state of the economy will overshadow just about anything the Republicans  do.”

(Want a free daily e-mail update? If it's in the news, it's in our polls). Rasmussen Reports updates are also available on Twitter or Facebook.

The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on June 9, 2011 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

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