Many citizens profess an antipathy toward politicians – all politicians – and express this sentiment by refusing to align themselves with either the Republicans or the Democrats. Not only would this group of disaffected consider supporting an independent candidate for president, a new Harris Poll says that many party affiliates would as well, combining for a total of two thirds of the electorate. 88% of self-described independents would give consideration to a third-party or independent candidate, as would 56% of self-described Republicans and 59% of self-described Democrats. Harris notes that older voters are less likely to support an independent.
The percentage of "Matures" (aged 62 or older) is 59%, it increases to 64% for Baby Boomers" (aged 43-61), 69% for "Gen Xers" (aged 31-42) and 74% for "Echo Boomers" (aged 18-30). This is not, however, particularly good news for New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who exited the Democratic party to run for mayor and recently exited the Republican party, fueling speculation about his potential to run for the White House as an independent. Harris finds that at this point, only 22% say they'd vote for him, while 67% specifically would not vote for him.
SmartMedia observation: The speculation is that Bloomberg will spend his own money for the campaign, like Ross Perot before him, and the numbers being batted around run from 500M to 1B. A large percentage of that would go into broadcast advertising. Will he run or not? We certainly can't answer that question, but we do know that there are somewhere between 500M and 1B reasons for broadcasters to maintain a Bloomberg watch.