If the Obama's approval keeps sinking and Republicans nominate a polarizing figure, the time could be right for an independent White House bid
John Huntsman has been distancing himself from other Republicans. Is he eyeing a third-party run? Image credit: Reuters
In the dog days of summer and in the aftermath of the unusual earthquake that hit the Washington area and other parts of the East Coast, maybe it's time to play a little parlor game related to next year's presidential election and a major disruption that just might occur. I am talking about the increasing probability that a serious independent third-party run might just occur. And by the manner in which former Utah governor and Republican presidential candidate Jon Huntsman is conducting himself this week in high-profile criticizing of his own party, he and his campaign might also be eyeing this probability.
Let me set the table on this, and see what it just might tell us. Today, President Obama's Gallup approval ratings are at an all-time low (38 percent). For the last two weeks, his approval rating has basically been stuck around 40 percent. For the last 60 years, an incumbent president running for reelection has basically received in national vote share the same percentage as his Gallup rating going into Election Day. If a president's approval was 50 percent or more, it didn't matter who his opponent was, he won. And if a president's approval was below 45 percent, it didn't matter who his opponent was -- he lost.
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We have not had a president in the inbetween numbers in the modern era, so we don't know that territory. If the election were held today in a two-person race, Obama would lose his reelection bid. In addition, if his approval rating drops much further, he could easily face opposition within his own party.