What about both of them?

Rasmussen has the numbers…

Twenty-six percent (26%) of American voters believe New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is at least somewhat likely to make a third-party or independent bid for the White House in 2008. That includes 5% who say he is Very Likely to do so.

Twenty-nine percent (29%) say that Texas Congressman Ron Paul will run as an alternative to the two major parties. Eleven percent (11%) believe he is Very Likely to do so.

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that roughly 15% of voters would currently vote for one of these two candidates in general election match-ups.

You hear that Paulties? 15%. That’ll get your guy in the debates. But no, keep chasing a GOP nomination that you have no hopes of winning. Throw good money at a losing cause. Good luck with that.

Ultimately, I don’t think Ron Paul doesn’t have the stomach for a 3rd party run because I don’t think he’ll jeopardize his congressional seat. On the other hand, Michael Bloomberg’s term as mayor is almost up and what’s a billionaire to do with too much time on his hands? Get 15% of the vote, that’s what.

But wait, what if BOTH of them run? Some more numbers…

At this time, the net impact of such third party efforts appears to benefit the Democrats.

In a head-to-head match-up between Romney and Obama, Obama currently leads by nine percentage points. When Bloomberg and Paul are added to the list of possible candidates, Obama’s lead grows to twelve points, 42% to 30%. Paul attracts 8% of the vote, Bloomberg 6%.

Hillary Clinton leads Romney by five in a head-to-head match-up, but her lead grows to fourteen points with Bloomberg and Paul in the mix—Clinton 46% Romney 32% Bloomberg 7% Paul 7%.

In a McCain-Obama poll, the Democrat leads by five. That grows to seven points with the third party options—Obama 40% McCain 33% Paul 11% Bloomberg 5%.

Any way you slice it, Republicans need to make sure that neither of these guys makes a 3rd party run because it’ll make an already up hill battle nearly vertical.

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