Sixty percent of Americans say a third major political party is needed because the Democratic and Republican parties do such a poor job representing the American people, according to a Gallup poll released Friday.

That’s the highest percentage Gallup has measured in the 10 years they have asked the question: “In your view, do the Republican and Democratic parties do an adequate job of representing the American people, or do they do such a poor job that a third major party is needed?” A new low of 26 percent believe the two major parties adequately represent Americans’ views.

Americans have typically favored a third party in this poll’s history, except in 2008 and 2012 before the presidential election. But the latest poll findings are the first time a majority of both political parties’ supporters have said a third party is needed-- 52 percent of Republicans and  49 percent of Democrats.

US Gov Shutdown 4Oct2013 2
An adult joins a rally with Congressional Progressive Caucus to demand a vote to end the government shutdown, outside the U.S. Capitol in Washington, October 4, 2013. Photo: Reuters

In 2012, Americans split nearly 50/50 on the question. In August 2010, 58 percent said a third party is needed. That poll was conducted shortly before midterm elections and when the Tea Party movement began emerging onto a national stage. Fifty-eight percent said a third party is needed in 2007 too, when the newly elected Democratic congressional majority and President George W. Bush were butting heads.

The latest poll is consistent with other polls indicating Americans’ negative opinions of both parties have been increasing during the government shutdown, with a new low favorable rating for the Republican Party, and widespread dissatisfaction with the way the nation is being governed. 

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