With six months to go to the Presidential Election of 2012, there are no signs of a strong third party movement occurring, which would have any dramatic effect on the election results.
Third parties in the past have had significance in election results, although never able to win the election.
This certainly proved true with the Free Soil Party of 1848, the Progressive Party of 1912, the American Independent Party in 1968, and the Reform Party of 1992.
And even in small ways, as in 2000, the candidacy of Ralph Nader, and even that of Pat Buchanan, had an effect on the race, particularly in Florida.
There is no such danger at this point, and with Mayor Michael Bloomberg making clear he is not running as an Independent, and instead allowing himself to be courted by both the Romney and Obama campaigns, there should be a major sigh of relief in both camps.
Yes, there will be third party candidates, but no one seriously is seen as a major figure, although it sometimes has seemed that Jon Huntsman, the former Utah Governor, might run, and Ron Paul, still technically in the race for the GOP Presidential nomination, has been rumored as a Libertarian Party candidate, as he was in 1988.
But realistically, the most “threatening” possible candidates are two former Governors who were ignored in the Republican race for President: former Louisiana Governor Buddy Roemer, and former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson. Roemer might run as the Reform Party candidate, and Johnson as the Libertarian Party candidate
Virgil Goode, former Republican Congressman from Virginia, might be the Constitution Party candidate; Roseanne Barr, the comedian, might run as the Green Party candidate; and either Buddy Roemer or former Salt Lake City, Utah, Mayor Rocky Anderson might run on the Americans Elect (online nomination) Party, with Anderson also the candidate of the Justice Party.
Of course, there is always the possibility of Ralph Nader or Donald Trump or Jesse Ventura running, as they have often talked about, but with only Nader actually running just about every four years, making him, sadly, a joke at this point, when once he had real credibility.
The point is the likelihood of a third party or independent candidate having any impact on the election is close to zero at this point!