Third-party candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has emerged as a significant factor in the 2024 presidential race, potentially influencing the outcome in favor of President Joe Biden, according to a new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist National Poll.
Kennedy Jr. recently shifted his presidential candidacy from the Democratic Party to run as an independent. Since this announcement, speculation has arisen about which candidate, former President Donald Trump or the incumbent Biden, he might harm more in the election.
And now we know: it's bad news for Trump.
The poll, released on Tuesday, provides some preliminary insight, indicating that Biden could win by a 7-point margin with Kennedy in the race. In a hypothetical election held today, the poll results show Biden with 44 percent of the vote, Trump with 37 percent, Kennedy with 16 percent, and 3 percent of respondents undecided.
Kennedy, known for his anti-vaccine stance, appears to be drawing more support from Trump's voter base than Biden's. Among Democrats, Biden loses 5 percentage points with Kennedy on the ballot, while Trump faces a more significant hit, losing 10 points among Republicans.
Although Kennedy has faced criticism, even from his own family, his presence in the race seems to be favoring President Biden at this point—a boon for Democrats.
Many see the poll as confirmation that the majority of the electorate is done with Trump, whose candidacy has been complicated by both federal and state criminal charges.
Trump has been mocked as a result.
The poll, which surveyed 1,313 American adults on October 11, also indicates that President Biden holds a 3-point lead over Trump in a head-to-head contest.
According to Lee M. Miringoff, director of the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion, these results highlight the significant portion of voters, especially independents, looking for alternatives to the two major parties.
Miringoff said, "right now Kennedy alters the equation in Biden’s favor" though he acknowledged that "about one in six voters are looking for another option, especially independents.”