It’s not been a week since the midterm elections, the results of which were driven hard by the Tea Party movement, resulting in what its believers hope will be more independent-thinking Republicans being elected to the House of Representatives. But the cleaning of the electoral process is apparently far from over.
As the pundits and pollsters project who the GOP may field as its presidential nominee, a startling new Rasmussen poll suggests that the Republicans better be rethinking the current strategy.
The poll finds that a goodly number of people who voted in the Republican primary elections would seriously consider voting for a third-party candidate should any of the perceived GOP presidential hopeful front runners ultimately be nominated.
Supporters of maverick Republican Congressman Ron Paul must feel energized by the poll results. Paul, a candidate for his party’s presidential nomination last go-around, was isolated by GOP bosses. He was precluded from participating in a presidential primary debate. His delegates at the Republican National Convention had trouble getting seated. So he held a cross-town counter-convention that reportedly attracted more people than did the official convention (I can’t personally verify this because I was busy covering John McCain and Sarah Palin’s official nominations).
Since then there’s been talk, at least among some of his supporters, of possibly running Paul as a third-party candidate.
“We’re not through,” one Paul admirer told me.
“The Ron Paul Revolution lives. The campaign signs are going back on my front lawn this week.”
Paul may not sign on to a third-party run. But there’s no doubt that he’s paying close attention to the Rasmussen poll.
It finds that from one-quarter to one-third of Republican primary voters would be inclined to consider a third-party candidate if any of the current favorites wins the GOP presidential nomination for 2012.
Nearly a third (31%) say they are at least “somewhat likely” to consider a third-party candidate for president if Palin wins the party nomination. (Seventeen percent say they are “very likely” to vote independent if this happens.)
Twenty-four percent would similarly be “somewhat likely” to consider voting independent if former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee is nominated. And 28 percent answer the same way if former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney becomes the party’s standard bearer, the Rasmussen poll finds.
Even former House Speaker Newt Gingrich falls short of holding GOP primary voters to the fold. Rasmussen’s poll found that 27 percent say’d they be likely to consider a third party contender if Gingrich wins the nomination.
Gary Baumgarten is the Paltalk News Network’s news and programming director.