At 18.9% of the vote, Ross Perot is the only candidate to have made a viable third-party run at the Presidency since George Wallace got 13.5% of the vote in 1968. Wallace was also the last third-party candidate to win a state. This means the Green Party demographics are relatively small, but still an important part of the US voting population.
In the United States, about 5% of the total voting population associates in some way with the Green Party.
What makes tracking the demographics of this party a little difficult is that support for it tends to ebb and flow based on what the two major political parties are doing in an election cycle. For the 2016 cycle, more support toward a third party is happening because of overall voter dissatisfaction. In other cycles, such as the 2000 campaign, there was very little support for it.
Please Note: Some of the demographic information included below comes from international Green Party figures. US Green Party demographics are estimated to be similar to this information, but may not be formally collected.
Who is the Typical Supporter of the Green Party?
- Women [60%] make up more of the support for the Green Party when compared to men.
- 13% of women compared to 11% of men say that they would consider voting for the Green Party in the next election cycle.
- People in the 18-24 age demographic are 2x more likely to support the Green Party then the next closest age demographic. They are 4x more likely to support the Green Party when compared to the 55+ age demographic.
- 1 in 4 people in the 18-24 age demographic says that they will consider voting for the Green Party.
- 64% of Green Party voters believe that the government should do more to reduce income inequality.
- 42% of Green Party voters believe that the economy and the environment are the top issues that must be addressed.
- More than 70% of the Green Party demographics do not trust the government and are dissatisfied with how democracy is being approached.
- In 2014, there were just under 250,000 registered members of the Green Party.
- In 2007, Californians have elected 55 of the 226 office-holding Greens nationwide.
The Green Party has really struggled to make an impact on the national scene. For a US House contest, the best a candidate has ever done is 11.02% of the vote. Linda Martin once polled 13% for a US Senate seat from Hawaii. Only two candidates for US governor have taken more than 10% of the vote as well. For the 2016 election cycle, the Green Party is actually throwing a majority of its support behind Bernie Sanders. Part of the struggle here has been a lack of consistent identity. In the past, this party has been a loosely affiliated group of individuals with similar goals. Only now, with more organization, is it beginning to make an impact.
So why doesn’t the Green Party garner more support? Unlike other third parties, namely the Libertarians, the Greens don’t have ballot access in all 50 states. Cynthia McKinney ran in 2008 for the party, was on the ballot in 32 states, and only receive 161,195 votes. Dr. Jill Stein ran in 2012 and receive nearly 4x that amount. The true strength of third parties in the US, even when there is strong international support for it, is often disguised by the fact that even within these demographics, most people wind up voting for the “lesser of two evils” and side with the Democrats or the Republicans.
Is The Green Party a Legitimate Third Party?
- In 2012, 40% of registered voters in the US declared themselves to be independent. In 2016, the percentage rose to 58%.
- 20% of currently registered Republicans would consider switching to a third party if the candidate met their expectations.
- 59% of voters that consider themselves to be either Green Party affiliated or an independent voter do not think of themselves as being moderate.
The fact is that a third party vote in the US is often considered to be a wasted vote. When Ralph Nader ran for President as the Green candidate in 2000, he received just over 2% of the popular vote – which was enough in the eyes of Democrats to cost Al Gore, their candidate, the election. People are often thinking that they need to vote for the lesser of two evils between the two major parties. Until that attitude changes, it doesn’t matter how strong the Green Party demographics become. They will still only receive the crumbs that are left.
Working and Living as Part of the Green Party
- People who support the Green Party are more likely to be renting their home than owning their home outright or with a mortgage.
- Non-white ethnicities are more likely to support the Green Party even though a majority of the party’s official membership is White/Caucasian.
- In the US, Green Party support is more likely to come from rural communities and districts than urban or suburban areas.
- Although many Green Party supporters are employed full-time, it is more likely that a supporter will be currently unemployed.
- Green Party supporters are not as likely to have a university degree when compared to the general population, but they are more likely to hold a post-graduate degree or consider themselves to be a full-time student.
- People who support the Green Party are more likely to be a public sector worker than be employed in the private sector.
- 56% of Green Party supporters who voted for their party in the last election say that they plan to do so again in the next election.
The fact is that the current Green Party has only been in existence since 2001. The results which Ralph Nader was able to produce helped to create the infrastructure the party needed to officially organize. Today that means there are “red” supporters and “green” supporters, much as there is internationally with similarly named parties, based on the age of the supporter. The “red” supporters tend to be older and support more environmental issues. The “green” supporters tend to have a merged focus on the economy and the environment. This is why many Greens in 2016 have pledged their support to Bernie Sanders – much of his platform is consistent with the Green Party platform.
Green Party Supporters Don’t Fir Into Neat Demographics
- Up to 5% of people who vote for a third party candidate initially feel like they’re not going to vote in the current election cycle.
- Most third-party candidates poll better before an election than the results bear out on election day, historically 50% less. For Perot in 1992, he polled at 35%.
- At most, only 7% of voters will ultimately take the plunge to support a third party in the voting booth.
- For the 2016 election, 21% of Green Party supporters state that they would vote for Marco Rubio. Another 15% would vote for Donald Trump.
- Only 23% of Green Party voters say that they would vote for Hillary Clinton in 2016.
- 96% of voters within the Green Party say that they support marriage equality.
- 3% of Green Party voters say that they would allow churches to have the right to refuse same-sex unions.
- 21% of the Green Party supporters say that there shouldn’t be more restrictions on the current process of owning a firearm. 13% say that if there are more restrictions, it should be stricter background checks, psychological testing, and training.
- 2 out of 3 Green Party supporters believes that able bodied adults shouldn’t be forced to work, but 40% of those who believe this say that to receive welfare, someone must prove they are looking for work or in a job training program.
- 32% of self-identified Green Party supporters want to institute a drug testing policy for those who receive some form of government aid.
- 3 out of 4 would describe themselves as being pro-choice. Another 14% say that they are pro-choice, but would put restrictions on the procedure.
- Just 10% of people who identify with the Green Party say that they don’t support the Affordable Care Act.
The Green Party demographics are often associated in the US with being liberal or with views that are similar to the Democratic party, but this isn’t necessarily the case. 10% of Greens say that they are pro-life. 1 in 5 believe there shouldn’t be any more gun control laws put on the books. 66% may believe that welfare should be provided to those who don’t want to work, but only 3% say that employment is tantamount to slavery. There really isn’t anything “neat” about the Green Party, but that’s what makes it attractive to people. They can be themselves and feel like they’re not being judged to a specific standard. That is also why they may not be winning many seats in the US as well.
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