Conditions could be right for a third-party candidate to win the presidency next year, according to noted elections expert Curtis Gans.
In a major new study released today on voter attitudes and turnout possibilities, Gans points out that a private group called "Americans Elect" has been working industriously to qualify a third-party ticket for the ballot in all 50 states. This well-financed effort, coupled with sagging trust in the major parties and other factors, could mean a third-party ticket "might win," Gans concludes.
Gans says there are five "minimal conditions" for such an effort to succeed:
Gans says, "If the economy is not in clear recovery mode, the first four of those conditions will be in place. It remains to be seen whether Americans Elect will be able to recruit potential nominees [for president and vice president] from both major parties that will be credible and appealing."
Gans is director of the nonpartisan Center for the Study of the American Electorate.
Gans says, "In May or June next year, the public will make its judgment about the state of the economy. If the unemployment rate is at least a percentage point lower than it is now and moving in a downward direction, President Obama will likely be re-elected. If, however, the economy continues to stagnate or worse and there is either no progress on the employment front or it has gotten worse, there is almost no chance that Obama can win."