Just recently, former Senators David Boren and Bill Cohen, and former Governor Christine Whitman authored a piece in The Politico endorsing Americans Elect’s efforts to put a third party candidate on the 2012 presidential ballot in all 50 states. The time to take that step is now.
There is a great deal of instability in our country and volatility in the American electorate.
President Obama’s job approval ratings have fluctuated considerably. Last October, polls consistently found that voters disapproved of his job performance by a seven-to-ten point margin. Gallup’s monthly average had Obama at 41% approve, 51% disapprove, and Rasmussen Reports’ monthly average had Obama at 44% approve, 54% disapprove.
Obama’s ratings crept upward in 2012 and hit 50% in several polls by early to mid-February. Both Gallup and Rasmussen averaged a five-point increase in Obama’s ratings over this time period, which were generally attributed to an improving economy, a rise in employment, and a general increase in consumer confidence.
But recently, Obama’s ratings have declined. The CBS News/New York Times poll shows Obama’s approval at 41% – a nine-point drop from last month – and ABC News found it at 46%, marking a four-point decrease.
Meanwhile, the Republicans are just as uncertain about who they will nominate. Although the race is still very much Mitt Romney’s to win, his third place finishes in both Mississippi and Alabama last Tuesday make it clear that this primary will not end anytime soon. Finishing behind both Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich in two southern, conservative states was a clear indication of the divide in the Republican Party and Romney’s inability to win the support of conservatives, Evangelical and Tea Party voters. To be sure, he is likely to win tomorrow in Illinois, but this victory will make his election more inevitable, not more acceptable.
It is evident that Republicans are not happy with their choices for president. Gallup polling last month found that a majority of Republicans (55%) wish someone else were running for the Republican nomination, while 44% are pleased with the selection of candidates running for president. And while by more than a two to one margin, Republican voters say they do not want a brokered convention, Santorum’s latest wins have sparked talks of a deadlock primary that could result in just that, if no nominee wins enough delegates.
Simply put, voters dissatisfaction with the direction of our country, the state of our economy and with government in Washington is at an all-time high. Sixty-three percent say the country is on the wrong track, while just 32% say it is heading in the right direction, according to a new Rasmussen Reports survey. Voters are fed up with the partisan gridlock in government and feel like our politicians are out of touch and only do what’s best for them.
Thus far, no candidate has emerged who offers consensus, conciliation, and a willingness to bring the two parties together to address the serious problems facing our country.
Voters are looking for someone to offer plans to revitalize the economy, create jobs, balance the budget, reduce our debt and deficit, and reform entitlement programs. Ross Perot—the last centrist candidate to make a serious run as an independent— succeeded in drawing both candidates toward the center to focus on the issues of the debt and the deficit. These two issues otherwise would almost certainly not have gotten the degree of attention they did during the campaign and after but for Perot’s effort.
I have been associated proudly with Americans Elect, which is holding the first online, nonpartisan nominating convention for the presidency in June and will have ballot access in all 50 states in November. Americans Elect now has over 400,000 delegates, who will vote for a presidential ticket that will appear opposite President Obama and the chosen Republican candidate on ballots this November. Last week, Americans Elect won the “People’s Choice Award” at the South By Southwest Interactive festival, one of the festival’s top honors.