What If Hillary Clinton Launched An Independent Presidential Bid?

May 24, 2012, 12:00 PM GMT+0

(Week of 5/19/2012) The Economist/YouGov Poll has been testing various possible (though somewhat improbable) third party candidacies to see how they might affect the fall race between Democratic President Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney. Last week, the poll suggested that, if retired General David Petraeus were to run as a third party candidate, he would take votes away from Romney, and improve the President’s chance of being elected.

This week, the tables were turned. If Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who nearly won enough delegates herself in 2008 to win the Democratic nomination, were to run as a third party candidate, she might take enough votes from the President to give Romney a plurality.

In the two-way horserace, Obama leads Romney, a change from last week. This week, 46% of registered voters support the President and 42% favor Romney.

But add Clinton to the contest, and Romney edges out the President. 36% of registered voters favor Romney, 32% the President. Clinton is in third, with 22%. She carries 30% of Democrats, 27% of independents, and 11% of Republicans (the President only gets 2% of Republicans in the two-way race).