Title

Prospects for Third Party Electoral Success in a Polarized Era

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

11-28-2018

Publication Title

American Politics Research

First page number:

1

Last page number:

21

Abstract

The trend of increasing major party polarization in the United States has raised concerns about the quality of representation and governance. One potential corrective is third parties, as they can hold the major parties accountable and instigate positive change. We, however, highlight limits to their influence. Two factors dampened the electoral support for third party candidates in the 2016 U.S. presidential election despite favorable conditions. First, the cost of third party voting is higher in the current polarized era, since casting a vote for a third party can lead to their less-favored major party candidate winning. Voters today have especially negative feelings toward their less-favored major party. Second, Trump co-opted voters distrustful of the government, which is a group that tends to support third parties. Our analysis of American National Election Studies (ANES) data from 1992 and 2016 shows support for both factors.

Keywords

Polarization; Political parties; Third parties; Elections; Voting

Disciplines

American Politics

Language

English

UNLV article access

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