16 February 2016

Sanders 31%, Trump 21%, Rubio 18%, Bloomberg 8%


Yesterday’s not-so-subtle threat from Donald Trump that he might stand as a third party candidate – because the Republican National Committee had allegedly stuffed Saturday night’s CBS debate audience with anti-Trump establishment-types (who jeered his Michael Moore-ish attacks on George W Bush) – provoked us to ask YouGov’s First Verdict panel how they would vote if there was a four person race in November.

We asked the panel to choose between four male candidates: former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg; Florida Senator Marco Rubio; the self-styled Democratic Socialist from Vermont, Senator Bernie Sanders; and Mr Trump.

We chose Senator Sanders rather than Mrs Hillary Clinton for this four-way hypothetical because it would be unlikely that Mr Bloomberg would run if, as is still likely, the former Secretary of State prevails in her second bid for the Democratic Party’s nomination. And we chose Senator Rubio rather than, say, Senator Ted Cruz or Governor Jeb Bush because most betting markets (e.g. Betfair) still have the first-term Florida Senator as the likeliest non-Trump candidate to win the Republican nomination.

And as you can see from our headline, Senator Sanders wins our four-way contest – albeit with less than a third of the vote. He gets 31% to Mr Trump’s 21% and Senator Rubio’s 18% and Mayor Bloomberg’s 8%.

Two other interesting take-aways from our poll are that Mr Trump is 3% ahead of Senator Rubio in the four-way clash and if you add up the Sanders and Bloomberg votes you get 39% – exactly the same as if you add up the Trump and Rubio votes.

The likelihood of this four-way contest is, of course, small but it was a fun question -which, we hope you agree, produced an interesting answer.

For more about Portrait of America and the methodology behind First Verdict, click here.

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Tim Montgomerie is Editor of Portrait of America