Poll: Clinton has best chance if Trump runs as independent
© Getty Images

Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary ClintonHillary Rodham ClintonCNN to air 'The Russian Connection: Inside the Attack on Democracy' Tuesday night Did Democrats really have Georgia on their minds? Changing America: America’s growing education divide MORE is leading several top GOP candidates in hypothetical general election match-ups, but she narrowly trails Sen. Marco RubioMarco RubioWhy liberals should support Trump — not Obama — on Cuba policy The Memo: Trump seeks to put his stamp on nation Rubio: 'I hope' Mexican elections won't end partnership against cartels MORE (R-Fla.), a new national poll finds. 

A new Public Policy Polling survey found that Clinton bests Republican presidential front-runner Donald TrumpDonald TrumpOPINION: Trump's energy plan will make America the new Saudi Arabia Yates: 'I don't really see running for office' Toronto hotel paying M to remove Trump's name: report MORE, 46 percent to 43 percent; beats former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, 44 percent to 39 percent; and defeats Sen. Ted CruzTed CruzCruz, McConnell huddle with healthcare vote looming Rand Paul, Trump to meet Tuesday GOP ObamaCare fight faces do-or-die procedural vote MORE (R-Texas), 45 percent to 43 percent. Clinton ties retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson at 45 percent. 

ADVERTISEMENT
But Clinton falls behind Rubio in a close match-up, trailing him by 1 point. 

“Our polling — both nationally and in swing states — is pointing to a close general election for President next year,” Dean Debnam, president of the liberal leaning Public Policy Polling, said in a release.

“A lot of Democrats assume that if the Republicans nominate Cruz or Trump it will be an easy victory but they should be careful about overconfidence — Hillary Clinton finds herself in a tight race even against that pair.” 

If Trump decides to break his pledge to remain with the GOP and launches a third party run, the real estate mogul complicates the path to victory even more for Republicans. The poll shows that Trump receives 24 percent if he runs as an independent, boosting Clinton past Rubio, 41 percent to 27 percent. 

Trump also gets 23 percent in a three-candidate match-up with Clinton and Cruz, with the former secretary of State now leading the Texas senator, 42 percent to 26 percent.

The poll was conducted from Dec. 16 to 17 and surveyed 1,267 registered voters via phones and Internet. The margin of error was 2.8 percentage points.