Iowa poll finds Trump third-party run would help Clinton
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A third-party presidential run by Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpMnuchin knocks Greta Thunberg's activism: Study economics and then 'come back' to us The Hill's Morning Report - House prosecutes Trump as 'lawless,' 'corrupt' What to watch for on Day 3 of Senate impeachment trial MORE would take votes away from Republicans and bump Democratic front-runner Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonCollins walks impeachment tightrope Hill.TV's Saagar Enjeti rips Sanders for 'inability to actually fight with bad actors' in party Hill.TV's Krystal Ball knocks Clinton's 'mean girl' comments against Sanders MORE ahead of GOP hopefuls in Iowa, a new poll found Thursday. 

A new Public Policy Polling survey shows that Clinton trails Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzWhat to watch for on Day 3 of Senate impeachment trial Democrats' impeachment case lands with a thud with GOP — but real audience is voters Restlessness, light rule-breaking and milk spotted on Senate floor as impeachment trial rolls on MORE (R-Texas) by 3 percentage points, 47 percent to 44 percent, and Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioLawmaker wants Chinese news outlet to register as foreign agent Apple under pressure to unlock Pensacola shooter's phones Senators offer bill to create alternatives to Huawei in 5G tech MORE (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.


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 SandersBernie SandersThe Hill's Morning Report - House prosecutes Trump as 'lawless,' 'corrupt' Tensions between McConnell and Schumer run high as trial gains momentum Sanders wants one-on-one fight with Biden MORE (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.