A third of Republican voters who support Donald Trump could turn their backs on their party in November's presidential election if he is denied the nomination in a contested convention, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll.
The results are bad news for Trump's rivals as well as party elites opposed to the real estate billionaire, suggesting that an alternative Republican nominee for the Nov. 8 presidential race would have a tougher road against the Democrats.
"If it's a close election, this is devastating news" for the Republicans, said Donald Green, an expert on election turnout at Columbia University.
The Reuters/Ipsos poll conducted March 30 to April 8 asked Trump's Republican supporters two questions: if Trump wins the most delegates in the primaries but loses the nomination, what would they do on Election Day, and how would it impact their relationship with the Republican Party?
Sixty-six percent said they would vote for the candidate who eventually wins the nomination, while the remaining third were split between a number of alternatives such as not voting, supporting a third-party candidate, and switching parties and voting for the Democratic nominee.
Meanwhile, 58 percent said they would remain with the Republican Party. Another 16 percent said they would leave it, and 26 percent said they did not know what they would do with their registration. The online poll of 468 Republican Trump supporters has a credibility interval of 5.3 percentage points.