Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders would handily defeat Donald Trump in a general election match-up, while a clash between Clinton and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz or Florida Sen. Marco Rubio would be a toss-up, according to a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.
The poll shows that Trump, who frequently boasts in interviews and campaign appearances that he would beat Clinton in November, would lose a one-on-one contest against her by double digits. In a head-to-head fight, Clinton gets the support of 51 percent of registered voters compared to 38 percent for the real estate mogul.
For Sanders, the margin of victory would be even greater, the poll shows.
The Vermont senator gets 55 percent support in a hypothetical two-person race against Trump, while the GOP front-runner would get just 37 percent.
While Trump remains the front-runner for the GOP nomination, Republicans like former presidential contender Mitt Romney have urged their party’s voters to back Cruz or Rubio, whom they say would have a greater chance of defeating the Democratic nominee.
The NBC/WSJ data supports that theory; both Cruz and Rubio would be competitive with the former secretary of state, both running within the margin of error in hypothetical general election battles against Clinton.
In a matchup with Cruz, Clinton would receive the support of 47 percent of registered voters, compared to 45 percent for the Texas senator.
If pitted against Rubio, Clinton and the Florida would tie at 46 percent support apiece, the poll shows.
The poll also shows that voters are split over whether they would consider a third party candidate in the presidential contest.
Forty-six percent of voters surveyed said that they would consider a third-party or independent candidate, while 51 percent said they would not consider it.
On Monday, the most prominent potential independent candidate, former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, shut the door on a 2016 run, saying that he feared his inclusion in the race would ultimately help Trump win the presidency over the Democratic nominee.
The NBC News/ Wall Street Journal poll was conducted March 3-6. The margin of error for all registered voters is +/- 2.83%.