For decades, the share of Americans who identify politically as either Republican or Democrat has been eroding. Meanwhile, the ranks of self-described independent voters have swelled – and this trend shows few signs of slowing. A June 2023 Gallup poll found that 44% of Americans consider themselves independent, up from 38% a month earlier. Meanwhile, the share of Americans who fall into one of the two major political parties has not exceeded 30% since October 2022.
While most independent voters tend to lean either Republican or Democrat in national elections, their refusal to identify with either of the parties is telling. As one Gallup analyst explained in an interview with Axios, the growing number of independents partially reflects public pessimism toward the two parties and their ability to effectively govern. Indeed, the share of Americans with unfavorable views of both parties surged from 6% in 1994 to 27% in 2022, according to the Pew Research Center.
Not surprisingly, independents are the voting demographic most likely to be receptive to supporting a third party candidate. And one of the most prominent third parties operating in the United States today is the Green Party – a left-wing organization with a platform focused on environmental protection, universal access to health care, and both social and monetary justice. (Here is a look at the 15 cities raising the minimum wage this summer.)
Though the Green Party has fielded a candidate in each of the last four presidential elections, they have rarely garnered more than 1% of the popular vote. While third party candidates, like those in the Green Party, lack the mass appeal of their major party counterparts, at state and local levels, they have proven far more successful.
Using data from GPUS Elections Database, a Green Party candidate tracker, 24/7 Wall St. identified the states with the most Green Party members serving in public office. States are ranked by the number of Green Party public officials in office, and in the case of a tie, states are listed in alphabetical order. Only Green Party members who were elected as party members were considered in this ranking.
According to the database, there are currently 18 states where Green Party members have been elected by the public. The offices held by Green Party candidates range from school board members and county public works officials to town and city mayoral positions and even statewide circuit court justices. (Here is a look at the most and least popular governors in America.)
Supplementary data on the number of registered voters in each state as of 2022 and the share of registered voters who participated in the November 2022 national elections are from the U.S. Census Bureau. The states on this list tend to be home to a larger than typical number of registered voters. Of the 18 states where Green Party members hold offices, 15 rank in the top 50th percentile of states by number of registered voters.
Click here to see 18 states where green party holds office.
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