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53% See Third-Party Candidate As Likely President in Next 10 to 12 Years

Voters see little chance of a third-party candidate being elected president next year, but most think one has a shot at the White House a little further down the road.

Only 27% of Likely U.S. Voters believe 2012 is a good year for voters to consider electing a third-party candidate, given a choice between President Obama and one of the potential Republican candidates. A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 46% don’t think next year’s a good time to consider a third-party candidate, but that’s down from 53% in early June. Twenty-six percent (26%) are not sure. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

Just 25% of voters think it’s at least somewhat likely that a third-party presidential candidate could win in 2012, with six percent (6%) who say it’s Very Likely. Sixty-eight percent (68%) see the chance of a third-party winner as unlikely, including 31% who feel it’s Not At All Likely.

But 53% believe it’s at least somewhat likely that a third-party candidate could win the presidency in the next 10 to 12 years, although only 16% think it’s Very Likely. Thirty-eight percent (38%) say a third-party candidate is unlikely to gain the White House by then, but that includes just nine percent (9%) who say it’s Not At All Likely.

Fifty-eight percent (58%) of Republicans and even more voters not affiliated with either of the major parties (65%) think a third-party winner is possible in the next 10 to 12 years. A plurality (47%) of Democrats views that outcome as not very or not at all likely.

(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 September 8-9, 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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