GOP Caught in a Bind Over Third Party Threat as Image Plummets

The threat of a new political party which could pick off Republican support comes as the GOP wrangles with plummeting favorability ratings.

It is reported that a group of Republicans has discussed setting up a new center right anti-Trump political party.

And while former President Donald Trump has pledged to support Republicans in 2022, and even been tipped as a potential 2024 GOP presidential candidate should he still be eligible, there has been prior speculation surrounding him setting up an offshoot political party of his own.

His adviser Jason Miller previously said there were no active plans outside of backing the GOP but said it is "completely up to Republican Senators" if such plans advance, speaking ahead of the president's second Senate impeachment trial. Trump spoke about being back in "some form" in a farewell address.

While these two contrasting potential threats hang over the GOP, polling has seen public opinion of the party dip.

In a survey carried out by Gallup with 906 U.S. adults from January 21 to February 2, 37 percent of those asked said they have a favorable opinion of the Republican Party.

This is down from 43 percent in similar polling carried out in November 2020.

Among the Republicans asked in the recent poll, 78 percent said they had a favorable view of the party. This marks a drop of 12 percentage points from November, when 90 percent held a favorable view of it.

"With much of the decline in Republican Party favorability coming from Republicans themselves, the GOP faces a crossroads, as it decides whether to continue to be loyal to Trump, his political style and his favored policy positions or break with him," analysis from Gallup alongside its results stated.

The analysis adds that this divide could hurt the GOP in future elections.

"Next year's midterm presents an opportunity for the Republican Party to win back one or both houses of Congress, since the party of the incumbent president usually loses seats. With the Democrats holding narrow majorities in both houses, the Republicans need to pick up only a small number of seats to regain the majority," it adds.

"But if the Republican party is still internally divided over whether to maintain loyalty to Trump or move beyond Trump next year, it could create a barrier, especially if bruising GOP primaries between Trump loyalists and non-loyalists and weaken the party nominees in the general election."

YouGov's favorability tracker for the Republican Party has also shown its rating dip, from around 39 percent favorability in November last year to 33 percent this month. It also showed a dip among Republicans favorable view of the party, down to 78.8 percent from 88 percent in November.

In 2020, Republicans lost the White House as well as their Senate majority. The party made gains in the House, though the Democratic majority held. While Republicans will be aiming to look to flip the House or Senate, Democrats are also already focused on retaining power and are pushing forward with fundraising to aid this.

Newsweek has contacted the Republican National Committee for comment on the potential threat of a new party.

donald trump speaks in maryland on January20
Donald Trump speaks to his supporters prior to boarding Air Force One to head to Florida on January 20, 2021 in Joint Base Andrews, Maryland. There is speculation over Republicans opposed to the former president setting up a new center-right political party. Pete Marovich/Pool/Getty Images