Nearly half of the Republican Primary voters who support Sarah Palin say they are at least somewhat likely to vote for a third-party candidate if she does not win the GOP presidential nomination.
A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 46% of Likely Republican Primary Voters who favor Palin say they are at least somewhat likely to vote third-party if she isnâ€™t nominated. That includes 22% who say it is Very Likely.
That puts the GOP in a tight spot since one-third (33%) of all likely primary voters say Palin is the front-runner theyÂ least hope wins the partyâ€™s presidential nomination.
Among all likely Republican Primary voters, 35% say they are at least somewhat likely to vote for a third-party candidate if their favorite candidate doesnâ€™t win the nomination, with 13% who are Very Likely to do so. Most GOP Primary voters (56%) still say they are unlikely to vote for a third-party candidate if their favorite does not win the nomination, with 27% who say itâ€™s not at all likely. (To see survey question wording,Â click here.)
While the third-party feeling runs strongest among Palin supporters, 35% of those who support former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee feel that way, including 13% who say they are Very Likely to vote third-party if he doesnâ€™t get the nomination. Among those who back former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, 31% say a third-party vote is likely, but only nine percent (9%) say itâ€™s Very Likely.
Typically, voters who say they will abandon the party if their nominee doesnâ€™t win eventually support the nominee. For example, during the 2008 Democratic Primary season, a fairly sizable number of Hillary Clinton supporters said they wouldnâ€™t support Barack Obama if he won the nomination. But, given a choice between Obama and McCain, those voters came around and supported the Democratic nominee.
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