Either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump is likely to be elected president in November, but voters are yearning for another option ... according to the results of a Data Targeting poll released Wednesday.Even as Mitt Romney is giving up on trying to find a viable third-party candidate, professional dead-horse beater Bill Kristol is citing this poll (which comes from a firm that, by its own admission, "has been involved in the research and conversations regarding the possibility of an independent candidacy for President of the United States"). Kristol is looking at the poll's results and proclaiming, "There is a viable path to victory for an independent candidate."
... Fifty-five percent favor having an independent candidate challenge the Democratic front-runner and presumptive Republican nominee for president. An unprecedented 91 percent of voters 28 or younger favor having an independent on the ballot, and 65 percent of respondents are willing to support a candidate who isn’t Clinton or Trump.
According to Data Targeting’s ballot test, an independent candidate would start off with 21 percent of the vote.
Um, no, there isn't.
In years with high levels of voter dissatisfaction with the candidates, third-party runs look good -- in the spring. Do you know what John Anderson's vote share was in April 1980, according to Gallup? 21 percent.
Anderson's peak number, according to Gallup, was 24 percent. His vote share in November? 6.6 percent.
Gallup had Ross Perot at 39 percent in June 1992. (He'd go on to get 18.9 percent of the vote.) Perot peaked at 19 percent in the Gallup poll in June 1996. (Actual vote: 8.4 percent.) Ralph Nader's top poll number in 2000? 6 percent in June. (He wound up at 2.74 percent.)
Yes, there's disgust out there. A third-party challenger could have an impact this year -- but probably an Anderson-level impact at best.
Forget it, Bill. It ain't gonna happen.