A potential third-party bid by Donald Trump would be a disaster for the Republican Party, a new poll shows.
The survey, conducted by Public Policy Polling and shared exclusively with Business Insider, found that Trump’s presence alongside another Republican on the ballot would result in a landslide election for Hillary Clinton.
In a matchup against fellow conservative populist darling Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Clinton, Trump would garner 23% support, according to the poll. Cruz’s support would register at about 26%, to Clinton’s 42%.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Florida) would perform slightly better in another theoretical matchup polled by PPP — the senator would grab 27% support to Trump’s 24%, with Clinton breaking out at 41%.
“The GOP needs to be very careful not to offend him and cause him to change his mind about ruling that out because it could pretty much kill their hopes,” PPP director Tom Jensen told Business Insider.
Unsurprisingly, Trump performs far better in a theoretical race with a candidate who does not draw from the same conservative base of support. PPP found that a greater percentage of Clinton supporters would bolt to back an unnamed independent third-party candidate in a Trump-Clinton matchup with Trump as the GOP nominee.
Though Republican National Committee Chair Reince Priebus has claimed he isn’t losing any sleep over the idea of an independent run by Trump, he may be resting a little easier that Trump appears increasingly unwilling to do so.
Trump was asked at last week’s Republican presidential debate if he was “ready to assure” Republican voters that he would not run as an independent.
“I really am. I’ll be honest, I really am,” Trump said.
He went further in a post-debate interview with CNN’s Chris Cuomo, telling the host that he is “not going to be doing a third party — no matter what.”
View the full poll below:
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