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Republicans Much More Likely Than Democrats To Consider Voting for An Independent This Year

Wednesday, September 29, 2010 -- Independents? Write-ins? The Tea Party? This year's frenzied political atmosphere seems to be throwing the light on a lot of unorthodox candidacies.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that one-out-of-three Likely U.S. Voters (33%) say they are more likely to vote for an independent candidate in this election than they have been in the past.

The identical number (33%) say they are less likely to do so this year. Twenty-four percent (24%) say the chances of them voting for an independent are about the same as always, and 11% are undecided. (To see survey question wording, click here.) 

But Republicans are in a more rebellious mood than Democrats. Thirty-seven percent (37%) of GOP voters say they are more likely to vote for an independent candidate this November, compared to just 17% of Democrats. Perhaps not surprisingly, 47% of those not affiliated with either major party are more inclined to vote for an independent.

Fifty-five percent (55%) of all voters say they have voted for an independent candidate in the past. Forty percent (40%) have not.

The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on September 21-22, 2010 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.

Men are more likely to vote for an independent this year than women are. Voters under the age of 40 are more likely to do so than their elders.

Republicans are slightly more likely than Democrats to have voted for an independent in the past but far less likely to have done so than the 71% of unaffiliated voters who make that claim.

Sixty-five percent (65%) of all voters remain at least somewhat angry at the current policies of the federal government, including 40% who are Very Angry.  But 59% also continue to feel that neither Republican nor Democratic political leaders have a good understanding of what is needed today. This finding has not changed in nearly a year.

Still, as elections approach, voters tend to gravitate toward the major parties. In August, the number of Americans not affiliated with either major party stood at 31.1%.  That's the lowest level measured in 2010.

In February, 35% of voters said Republicans and Democrats are so much alike that an entirely new political party is needed to represent the American people.

Roughly one-in-four voters (26%) consider themselves part of the Tea Party movement or have close friends or family members who are involved with it.

As Scott Rasmussen and Doug Schoen note in their new book, Mad as Hell: How the Tea Party Movement is Fundamentally Remaking Our Two-Party System , "The Tea Party movement is not a flash in the pan, as many have assumed. ... To the contrary, it is an authentic grassroots movement of concerned American citizens demanding to be heard by an out-of-touch political establishment."  The book, published by HarperCollins, is available at major booksellers including  Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, Borders and other outlets.

Florida Governor Charlie Crist is perhaps the highest profile independent running this year, opting for a third-party run for the U.S. Senate when his bid for the Republican nomination feel short. In late July, 41% of Likely Florida Voters said they were more likely to vote for an independent this year.  Still, Crist continues to run second to GOP candidate Marco Rubio in Rasmussen Reports' most recent survey of the Florida Senate race.

Republican Joe Miller attracts 42% of the vote to lead the Alaska Senate race in the first Rasmussen Reports poll since GOP Senator Lisa Murkowski announced her write-in campaign to try to keep her job.

It's possible that a write-in campaign by Congressman Mike Castle could hurt Democrat Chris Coons more than Republican Christine O'Donnell in the Delaware campaign for U.S. Senate.

Third-party candidate Tom Tancredo has now moved past Republican nominee Dan Maes, but Democrat John Hickenlooper still remains well ahead in the race to be Colorado's next governor.

Additional data and crosstabs available to Platinum Members only. 

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See survey questions and toplines and crosstabs.

Rasmussen Reports is an electronic media company specializing in the collection, publication and distribution of public opinion polling information.  We poll on a variety of topics in the fields of politics, business and lifestyle, updating our site's content on a news cycle throughout the day, everyday.

Scott Rasmussen , president of Rasmussen Reports, has been an independent pollster for more than a decade. To learn more about our methodology, click here.

The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on September 21-22, 2010 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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