Bloomberg could seriously alter the race for the White House, a new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll finds.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg - who left the Republican Party last week - could have a serious impact on the 2008 presidential race, rivaling billionaire Ross Perot's influence in 1992, a new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll suggests.
In the new poll's three-way matchups among registered voters, Democratic frontrunner Sen. Hillary Clinton would hold a slight edge in an all-New York race with 41 percent, compared to Republican frontrunner Rudy Giuliani's 38 percent and Bloomberg's 17.
In a two-way matchup, Clinton and Giuliani are effectively tied, 49-48 percent, with a sampling error of 3.5 percentage points.
In a race pitting Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, against Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, and Bloomberg, Obama drew 40 percent; McCain, 34 percent; and Bloomberg, 21. Without the New York mayor, Obama would edge McCain 48-44 percent, according to the poll.
The poll showed a possible Giuliani-Obama race a statistical dead heat, with Giuliani at 48 percent and Obama at 46 percent. But Obama led Fred Thompson by a wide margin, 52 percent to 40 percent, the survey found.
About a third of Americans - 33 percent - said they would be very or fairly likely to consider voting for an independent presidential candidate. That is considerably less than in June 1992, when 47 percent said they were likely to consider an independent. Ross Perot ended up taking 19 percent of the popular vote with an independent bid that year.
Bloomberg's decision to abandon the GOP last week has fueled speculation that the two-term billionaire mayor will mount an independent presidential bid. Bloomberg called that talk "very flattering" Wednesday, but said he has no intention of seeking the White House.
The poll, conducted for CNN by Opinion Research Corp., surveyed 1,029 adults between Friday and Sunday. It had a sampling error of 3 percentage points.
Meanwhile, in the race for the Republican nomination, former Sen. Fred Thompson trails only Giuliani in a new poll of Republican presidential contenders.
Thompson, who has not yet officially declared his candidacy, saw his support grow from 11 percent in an April survey to 19 percent in the latest poll, taken Friday through Sunday. The former Tennessee senator and "Law & Order" star announced June 1 that he was forming a fund-raising committee, an early step toward a campaign.
Giuliani led among Republicans and GOP-leaning independents with 31 percent support, followed by Thompson with 21 percent. McCain followed with 19 percent and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney drew 11 percent.
Among the other GOP contenders, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and Texas congressman Ron Paul were tied with 2 percent; Sen. Sam Brownback of Kansas, Rep. Tom Tancredo of Colorado and former Wisconsin governor and Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson came in with 1 percent each; and former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore and Rep. Duncan Hunter of California drew less than half of 1 percent.
The GOP ratings had a sampling error of 5 percentage points.
Among Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents, preferences were essentially unchanged from previous polls. Clinton led the list of contenders with 43 percent, without former Vice President Al Gore included in the race. Obama trailed with 25 percent, and former Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina ran third with 17 percent.
Among the second-tier candidates, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson had 5 percent support; Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Joseph Biden of Delaware, 3 percent; and Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich, 2 percent. Connecticut Sen. Christopher Dodd and former Sen. Mike Gravel of Alaska each had less than half of 1 percent support.
The sampling error on the Democratic lineup was 4.5 percentage points.
If Gore got into the Democratic race, he would run third with 16 percent, holding Clinton to 35 percent and knocking Edwards down to 13 percent. Obama's support would fall to 23 percent.
Gore, the party's 2000 presidential nominee, has said he has no plans to run again.
Meanwhile, on the Republican side, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich has said he will decide whether to seek the White House in the fall. Gingrich would run fifth in the GOP field with 8 percent, behind Romney at 9 percent, McCain at 18 percent, Thompson at 19 and Giuliani at 30.