If businessman Donald Trump runs for President as an independent, not a Republican, Trump’s candidacy would benefit former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, widen her lead against former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, and yield Clinton almost the exact same share of the vote that her husband, former President Bill Clinton, received in his 1992 win against, then, Republican President George H.W. Bush and independent Ross Perot.
While Clinton, 49%, edges Bush, 43%, by 6 points in a two-way, general election contest, a three-way race with Trump cuts into Bush’s support and gives Clinton, 44%, a 15 point lead over him, 29%. Trump garners 20% in such a contest. When Bill Clinton defeated George H.W. Bush in 1992, he received 43% of the popular vote.
While Clinton retains her support among her Democratic base in a three-way race, Bush’s support among Republicans freefalls from 92% to 63%, a 29 point difference. Trump garners 28% of the GOP vote. Among independents nationally, Clinton’s 6 point edge over Bush, 48% to 42%, more than doubles to 13 points with Trump in the race.
“The 2016 election cycle has already had its share of ups and downs,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. “But, what a rollercoaster ride it would be if Donald Trump runs for president as an independent.”
Clinton Leads GOP Opponents… Paul, Rubio, Bush Closest Competitors
When matched against potential Republican rivals, Clinton is out in front although not over 50 percent against her closest opponents. Her greatest competition comes from Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush. Clinton edges Rubio and Paul by 5 points among registered voters nationally and is ahead of Bush by 6 points. Her widest margin is 21 points.
Clinton receives her highest support, 54%, against Trump.
- Against Rubio (trend), Perry (trend), Bush (trend), or Christie (trend), Clinton maintains a comparable advantage to the one she received in the March McClatchy-Marist Poll. Clinton’s lead has inched up against Walker since that time.
Clinton’s lead over Paul has declined from 11 points in March to 5 points now (trend). Her 14 point advantage over Cruz has narrowed to 9 points (trend). Against Huckabee, Clinton has a 9 point lead, down from 13 points in April 2014 (trend).
Voters Want Domestic Issues to Dominate National Campaign
Many registered voters nationally, 66%, want the focus of the 2016 presidential election to be domestic issues such as the economy, health care, and roads and bridges. Foreign policy issues such as ISIS and terrorism are the priority for 21% of the national electorate while only 9% think social issues like abortion and same-sex marriage should be the central themes of the campaign.
To watch Dr. Lee M. Miringoff’s in-depth analysis of the poll or to read the full McClatchy article, click here.