New Poll Suggests Rising Support for RFK Jr. in a Three-Way Race With Biden, Trump

Momentum from third-party candidates suggests that the 2024 presidential election is likely to get messier even though both Democrats and Republicans seem to have settled on a nominee.

Eva Marie Uzcategui/Getty Images
Robert F. Kennedy Jr. on October 12, 2023, at Miami. Eva Marie Uzcategui/Getty Images

A new survey is previewing a potentially messy presidential election with significant support for independent and third-party candidates in 2024 — and the race is only poised to get messier as other candidates are expected to throw their hats in the ring this month.

A new survey from Quinnipiac University found that attorney Robert Kennedy Jr. would carry 22 percent support in a matchup against President Biden, who would carry 39 percent support, and President Trump, who would carry 36 percent support.

Among independents, Mr. Kennedy enjoys plurality support, with 36 percent backing him, 30 percent supporting Mr. Biden, and 31 percent favoring Mr. Trump.

“With minority and younger voters seeming intrigued, Kennedy, for now, enjoys the kind of demographic support his charismatic father and uncles generated decades ago,” pollster Tim Malloy said.

The Quinnipiac survey is somewhat of an outlier. However, other surveys have shown that Mr. Kennedy enjoys significant support a year out from the election. 

A Redfield and Wilton Strategies survey found that Mr. Kennedy currently enjoys 10 percent support in a matchup involving himself and Messrs. Biden and Trump, who would receive 38 percent and 40 percent support. Another 10 percent of respondents didn’t know who they would support. 

The findings of the Redfield and Wilton Strategies survey align fairly closely with the findings of a McLaughlin and Associates survey from late October, which showed that in the same three-way matchup, Mr. Kennedy would enjoy 14 percent support while Mr. Biden would have 37 percent and Mr. Trump would have 39 percent.

Yet another survey from late October, from Abacus data, found that Mr. Kennedy would draw 8 percent support while Messrs. Biden and Trump would each draw 39 percent.

While these polls are not necessarily predictive of final election results, if Mr. Kennedy draws even a fraction of the support he enjoys now on Election Day, the effect could swing the election one way or the other, depending on whether he appeals more to likely Republican or Democratic voters.

While Mr. Kennedy’s candidacy could throw a wrench in the works for both of the leading presidential campaigns, he isn’t the only alternative who is expected to be running. Alongside the regular slate of third-party options from the Libertarian and Green parties, a self-proclaimed centrist group, No Labels, is planning to announce a candidate soon.

No Labels’s chief strategist, Ryan Clancy, told the Sun in October that the group will announce its selection process in “early November,” suggesting that the 2024 presidential competition could get even messier in the coming weeks.

Ahead of this announcement, No Labels released a memo acknowledging this and apparently taking notes from Mr. Kennedy’s candidacy.

In the memo, the group cites polling that suggests Mr. Kennedy is drawing more support from likely supporters of Mr. Trump than from likely supporters of Mr. Biden, saying that critics of the group claim that “an independent ticket could only benefit Trump’s candidacy.”

“In fact, we’ve already seen evidence of how different flavors of independents could have different impacts on the race,” the memo reads. “So, anyone who makes the claim that a No Labels ticket would indisputably ‘spoil’ the election in one party’s favor is just throwing things against the wall.”

The group also disclosed its timeline for choosing a presidential nominee. Although it plans to announce the selection process this month, the memo estimates that it won’t have a final nominee for five months.

While the effect of the No Labels nominee’s entry into the race will depend on the specific candidate, the prospect of another third-party or independent candidate entering the competition suggests that the 2024 presidential election is likely to get messier even as it looks like both Democrats and Republicans have settled on nominees.

The New York Sun

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