Trump has slight lead over Biden, but look what happens when numbers for RFK Jr factor in

A new NBC News poll shows election interest hitting a “new low,” with independent voters not overly keen on a rematch of the 2020 presidential election between President Biden and former President Donald Trump.

But another factor that could play a key role in the outcome in November is independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who draws double-digit interest in the polling.

Interestingly, NBC News noted that the poll “shows Biden’s numbers inching up,” even though he is 5 points below where he was in July 2023.

The results reveal a dynamic race, with Trump initially ahead of Biden in a head-to-head matchup, 46 percent to 44 percent. However, when RFK Jr. is factored in, Biden takes the lead, 39 percent to 37 percent, highlighting the unpredictability of the election outcome.

The poll comes after a concerted effort by Trump last week to paint Kennedy as “the most radical left candidate,” saying he is the better option for Democrats in the hopes of drawing voters away from Biden’s hard-left base.

“RFK Jr. is, as you know, the most radical left candidate in the race. He’s more so than the Green Party, he’s more so than even Crooked Joe Biden,” Trump said, before adding, “I guess that would mean that RFK Jr.’s going to be taking away votes from Crooked Joe Biden, and he should, because he’s actually better than Biden, He’s much better than Biden. If I were a Democrat, I’d vote for RFK Jr. every single time over Biden, because he’s frankly more in line with Democrats.”

As seen in the graphic below, when the ballot is expanded to include Kennedy, Jill Stein and Cornel West, all named candidates, Biden takes a 2-point lead over Trump, while RFK Jr. draws 13 percent of the vote:

As for the interest in the election, NBC News said 64 percent of registered voters say they have high levels of interest in November’s election, which is lower than what network polling showed at this time in the 2008 (74%), 2012 (67%), 2016 (69%) and 2020 (77%) presidential contests.

Independent voters are at a dismal 48 percent.

Here is more from NBC News on the issues Biden and Trump hold an advantage in:

Biden holds a 15-point advantage over Trump on dealing with the issue of abortion, and he is ahead by 9 points on having the ability to bring the country together — though that is down from his 24-point advantage on that issue in the September 2020 NBC News poll.

Trump, meanwhile, leads in having the ability to handle a crisis (by 4 points), in having a strong record of accomplishments (by 7 points), in being competent and effective (by 11 points), in having the necessary mental and physical health to be president (by 19 points) and in dealing with inflation and the cost of living (by 22 points).

 

In what could prove to be troubling for Trump, 40 percent of Republican voters view Kennedy favorably while only 16 percent of Democrats view him favorably.

Tom Tillison

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