Donald Trump continues to lead the GOP presidential field in national polls, but new figures indicate he could attract a lot of support even as an independent candidate. According to a USA Today/Suffolk University poll taken last week, 68% of Trump’s supporters said they would back him if he ran on an independent ticket instead of as the Republican nominee. As a GOP candidate, Trump also continues to lead his rivals in the poll, garnering 27% of likely voters’ support, with Ted Cruz placing second with a 17% share.
Trump has threatened to launch an independent campaign before. In a summer appearance on Morning Joe, when the businessman’s campaign was first gaining steam, he said, “I do not want to do independent at all. If I’m treated well and with great respect and don’t win, I would not do that. But if I’m treated poorly, I would do that.” He reiterated similar points on Tuesday, though he has signed a loyalty pledge to the party.
The poll was conducted before Trump launched his latest controversy by calling for a “complete shutdown” of Muslims entering the country. The idea has been met with wide condemnation from both Democratic and Republican politicians.