Poll: Trump third-party run would hurt Bush
© Greg Nash

If Donald TrumpDonald TrumpMeghan McCain: Democrats 'should give a little credit' to Trump for COVID-19 vaccine Trump testing czar warns lockdowns may be on table if people don't get vaccinated Overnight Health Care: CDC details Massachusetts outbreak that sparked mask update | White House says national vaccine mandate 'not under consideration at this time' MORE leaves the GOP and runs as an independent candidate for president, it would badly damage Republican prospects for winning the White House, a new poll finds.

An ABC News-Washington Post poll released late Monday showed that in a head-to-head matchup, former secretary of State Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonClintons, Stacey Abrams meeting Texas Democrats Biden says Russia spreading misinformation ahead of 2022 elections Highest-ranking GOP assemblyman in WI against another audit of 2020 vote MORE (D) has a small lead over former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) at 50 percent to 44 percent.

However, in a three-way matchup between Clinton, Bush and Trump, Trump siphons off significant support from Bush, propelling Clinton to a 16-point lead.


In that scenario, Clinton takes 46 percent over Bush at 30 percent and Trump at 20 percent. Bush was the only Republican contender the poll tested in a three-way match up with Clinton and Trump.

“The results underscore the GOP’s conundrum in responding to Trump, a billionaire businessman and television celebrity who hasn’t ruled out an independent run for the presidency,” Gary Langer, who conducted the poll, wrote in a memo.

Trump has said that his plan is to win the Republican nomination for president, but he has repeatedly declined to rule out an independent bid. Trump’s fortune is in the billions, and he’s already self-funding his current run for the GOP nomination.

Trump is riding a media frenzy to the top of the polls. This week, he moved into the lead of the RealClearPolitics average of polls, with the last three national surveys finding him in first place.

The ABC News-Washington Post survey showed Trump with a big lead over the field. He takes 24 percent support in the poll, with Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker a distant second at 13 percent, followed by Bush at 12 percent.

Still, many believe the early polls are driven by name recognition and that Trump’s support will dissipate. The ABC News-Washington Post poll found that a majority of Republicans say Trump does not represent the GOP’s core values, and 30 percent of Republicans said they’d never even consider voting for him.

Trump's recent controversial comments criticizing Sen. John McCain's (R-Ariz.) war record could cost him, however. The poll found a significant slide in support for Trump after his remarks on Saturday.

The ABC News-Washington Post poll of 1,002 adults was conducted between July 16 and July 19 and has a 3.5 percentage point margin of error.