Presidential races

Iowa poll finds Trump third-party run would help Clinton

A third-party presidential run by Donald Trump would take votes away from Republicans and bump Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton ahead of GOP hopefuls in Iowa, a new poll found Thursday. 

A new Public Policy Polling survey shows that Clinton trails Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) by 3 percentage points, 47 percent to 44 percent, and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) by 7 points, 48 percent to 41 percent, in general election match-ups. 

But if Trump were to run as an independent, the real estate mogul would receive 23 percent in a hypothetical match-up with Clinton and Rubio, giving the former secretary of State a 6-point lead over the Florida senator.

{mosads}Similarly, Cruz would lead Clinton, 47 percent to 44 percent, in a head-to-head match-up; with Trump in the picture, Cruz’s support dropped to 33 percent, 8 points behind Clinton, and Trump received 20 percent.

“If Donald Trump doesn’t stick to his pledge not to run as an independent, it could pretty much doom the Republican Party next fall,” Dean Debnam, president of Public Policy Polling, said in a release. “GOP leadership will have to be very careful not to offend him and steer him in that direction.” 

Trump vowed during Tuesday’s GOP debate that he wouldn’t make a third-party run and pledged his commitment to the Republican Party. 

The survey also found that in other head-to-head contests, Clinton narrowly leads several GOP candidates including former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, 46 percent to 41 percent; former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, 45 percent to 43 percent; and Trump, 45 percent to 43 percent. Clinton would tie retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson.

Clinton’s rival for the Democratic nomination, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), polls 4 points ahead of Bush, 1 point ahead of Carson and Cruz, 6 points ahead of Fiorina, and 3 points ahead of Trump, but he is 2 points behind Rubio.

The poll was conducted from Dec. 10 to 13 and surveyed 1,426 Iowa voters via phone and Internet. The margin of error was 2.6 points.

Tags Bernie Sanders Donald Trump Hillary Clinton Marco Rubio Ted Cruz

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