New Poll Shows Voters Want Independent Candidate To Challenge Clinton, Trump

A new poll released on Wednesday indicates that voters are hungry for a third-party challenger in a presidential race between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Polling agency Data Targeting reached out to 997 registered voters who are likely to vote in the presidential race. Most pundits are predicting that Clinton will defeat Bernie Sanders for the Democratic nomination, so the pollster asked voters only about Clinton versus Trump in a general election. The results were striking.

In a nutshell, Data Targeting discovered three important things.

  • 58 percent were not happy with either of the Republican or Democratic candidates.
  • 55 percent were amenable to a an independent running for president.
  • 65 percent were “at least somewhat” willing to support a candidate other than Clinton or Trump.
  • In the under 29 age group, 91 percent of voters were favorable to an independent presidential candidate.

Even more interesting are the test ballot results. Among voters, Donald Trump came in with just 11 percent, with Hillary Clinton puttering behind at just seven percent. The generic independent candidate, however, received 56 percent on the ballot test results.

Activists protest against Donald Trump.
[AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin]

Unsurprisingly, the poll also showed a high unfavorable rating for both Clinton and Trump. Overall, 56 percent had an unfavorable opinion of Clinton. Trump’s overall score was just one percent lower, with a 55 percent unfavorable rating.

The poll results correspond with the popularity of Clinton’s rival Senator Bernie Sanders and the Green Party candidate Dr. Jill Stein, who is a physician. On social media, calls for the Vermont senator to run as an independent have increased. His supporters have also suggested he might join Stein’s ticket. Stein has already extended an invitation to join forces with a positive response from supporters of both candidates.

In an interview with NBC News, Stein discussed a possible collaboration with Sanders.

“Many of my supporters are also his supporters. I’m asked all the time if there could be a Bernie Sanders collaboration and my answer to that has always been yes. The Green Party has long sought to establish a collaboration with Bernie Sanders.”

Despite this, Sanders has not responded to her.

Dr. Jill Stein, a physician, has sought a collaboration with Bernie Sanders against Trump and Clinton.
Green Party candidate Dr. Jill Stein. [Drew Angerer/Getty Images]

Seattle city council member and Berniecrat Kshama Sawant started a petition for Sanders to run as an independent, which has received nearly 28,000 signatures.

Both Clinton and Trump have had high unfavorable ratings for months now, and various polls have suggested Sanders would perform better than Clinton in a general election. As reported in a previous story on The Inquisitr, Sanders beats Trump in every recent poll by at least ten points.

For its poll, Data Targeting used live telephone surveys of active registered voters across the nation and conducted the survey during the evenings between May 12 and May 15. Landlines and mobile phones were both called and the results have a margin of error of +/- 3.1 percent.

Broken down by age, the 65+ age group was the largest age bracket to respond, with 347 active voters responding. This indicates that more mature voters desire more diverse choices during the presidential election than previously thought.

Despite the compelling poll results in a Clinton versus Trump scenario, Bernie Sanders has strongly indicated that he will not run as an independent or third-party candidate. In an appearance on CNN’s New Day, campaign manager Jeff Weaver put Sanders supporters’ dream to bed.

“Bernie Sanders has said he will not run as a third-party candidate. He’s going to support the Democratic nominee, and that’s what he’s going to do.”

But Sanders will have a hard time convincing his own supporters to back Clinton should she win the nomination. Social media sites are awash with Sanders supporters vowing to never vote for Hillary, and the website Revolt Against Plutocracy shows more than 100,000 people have formally taken the “Bernie or Bust” pledge.

Bernie Sanders rally. [Photo by David McNew/Getty Images]

A poll done by the Wall Street Journal in collaboration with NBC indicated other bad news for Clinton, which could translate into good news for Donald Trump. More than one-third of Sanders voters have indicated that they will not support Clinton should she win the nomination. Given the events of the last week, especially concerning the Nevada Convention, that number could be higher.

Not helping Clinton among this demographic is her recent courtship of GOP donors who do not support Trump. This courtship of conservatives is seen as a betrayal against her Democratic supporters, and perhaps proof that she’s really a Republican in disguise. Whatever the case, neither Clinton nor Trump are the most favored candidates among likely voters.

[Photo byAndrew Harnik/AP Images]