The 2016 general election could turn out eerily similar to 1992 if Donald Trump launches a third-party candidacy, according to a McClatchy/Marist poll released Friday.
In 1992, Bill Clinton defeated President George H.W. Bush with 43 percent of the popular vote. Many blamed the incumbent president's loss on third-party candidate, Ross Perot, who siphoned off roughly 19 percent of the popular vote.
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush could suffer the same fate if Trump chooses to run independently from the 16 other GOP candidates, according to nationwide survey of registered voters.
The poll projects that in a three-way presidential race between Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton, Bush and Trump, the real estate magnate would steal 20 percent of the popular vote. Bush, then, would be left with 29 percent in comparison to Clinton, who the poll estimates would receive 44 percent.
The billionaire business mogul would badly hurt Bush while causing virtually zero damage to Clinton. According to the survey, Trump would secure 28 percent of the Republican vote, leaving the Florida Republican with only 63 percent of his own party's support. At the same time, Clinton would maintain 86 percent support among Democratic voters.
Third-party candidacy aside, recent polls show that Trump's chances of beating Clinton as the Republican nominee also remain unlikely.
Quinnipiac recently asked Americans who they would vote for in a matchup between Trump and each Democratic candidate and the results were disappointing for the New York businessman. Forty-eight percent of respondents said they would vote for Clinton versus Trump, 49 percent would vote for Vice President Joe Biden, and 48 percent would vote for Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. Meanwhile, Trump received 36 or 37 percent support, respectively.
During an appearance on NBC News Monday, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus urged the field of GOP candidates, including Trump, to pledge against launching independent bids.
"I think everyone understands that if Hillary Clinton's going to get beat, she's going to get beat by a Republican," Priebus reportedly said. "[M]ost people that run for president run to win, and if our candidates want to win, they they'll have to run as a Republican."
Trump currently holds a double-digit edge over Bush and is leading the Republican field at 20 percent, according to RealClearPolitics' polling average. He will join nine other GOP candidates in the first primary debate on Aug. 6 in Cleveland, Ohio.