There's a problem with a common theory about Donald Trump and Ted Cruz

Last month, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) articulated what many political analysts have been speculating for months: Donald Trump may be whipping up support that will eventually help Cruz if Trump eventually loses steam.

“I think his involvement has been tremendously helpful to my campaign,” Cruz said.

There has been little data to support this presumption — and a new poll suggests it holds flaws.

The poll, released by Fox News on Wednesday, poked a hole in the narrative. Overall, it found Cruz rising to a third-place tie with Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Florida), behind Trump and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson.

But the Fox poll also revealed that even if Trump drops out of the race, Cruz would not see much of a campaign bump.

If Trump were out of the race, Carson would be the greatest beneficiary, according to the poll. He would rise from 23% support to 33% overall, giving him a near 20-point advantage. Cruz would only see his support rise 2 points, putting him at 13% support. Rubio would see his support tick up to 14%.

Cruz is also not the primary second-choice candidate for GOP voters — only 10% of Republican voters said they’d pick the Texas senator if their top choice were not in the race.

According to the poll, 20% of likely Republican primary voters report that Carson is their second choice for president, followed by Trump at 15% and Rubio at 14%.

For his part, Cruz has largely refrained from attacking his primary opponents. And he maintained last month that he will be able to outlast other candidates who are not catching fire in different “lanes” of the Republican party.

“The most encouraging thing I would say is that I think three of the lanes are collapsing into one, which is the evangelical lane, the conservative tea party lane, and the libertarian lane are all collapsing into the conservative lane and we’re seeing those lanes unify behind our campaign,” Cruz told Politico.

NOW WATCH: The internet went crazy with a photo of Jeb Bush in front of a green screen

NOW WATCH: Briefing videos

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.