Posted Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2012, at 11:02 AM
This'll get mostly lost in the news today, but it's always good to see Americans backing away from the silly idea that a third party, introduced at random in a first-past-the-post voting system, would fix everything. From Gallup:
Notice when third party 'mentum has crumbled. In 2004, as depressing as the election was, most Americans were still pleased with the post-9/11, post-Iraq arrangement. In late 2006, as they were about to give Democrats control of Congress, Americans said they were fed up. The fed-up-ness increased during the end of the Bush years, but fell in 2008 -- much to the disappointment of Michael Bloomberg fans -- because voters were generally pretty satisfied by their presidential choices that year. (McCain had a post-partisan rep that lasted quite a while, and as he defeated Hillary Clinton, Obama was seen as less liberal than he actually was.) The agita started up again in 2010, as the Democrats collapsed. But we're back to parity.
But could we make this even simpler? In 2004, 2008, and 2012, voters told Gallup that they were cooling on the whole "third party" thing. When the presidential choice comes into view, they make perfectly logical assessments about which party actually represents them.