A new poll showed that when third-party candidates are included, the race for president shifts considerably. The entry of two left-wing independent candidates, Robert. F. Kennedy, Jr, also known as RFK. and Professor Cornel West, could shift the electorate toward former President Donald Trump.
The USA TODAY/Suffolk University poll found that both West and Kennedy received considerable support when matched up against Trump and President Joe Biden.
The poll found that in a direct matchup, Trump and Biden were tied with 41% each. However, with the inclusion of the other candidates, the race changes. With just West in the race, Trump received 41%, Biden got 39% and West tallied 7%. The overall effect appears to help Trump if West is the primary third-party candidate.
Furthermore, if Kennedy alone is the third party candidate, Biden received 38%, Trump 37%, and Kennedy received 14%.
In a four-way race, Biden and Trump each received 37%. Kennedy pulled in 13% of the vote while West received 4%.
🇺🇲 NATIONAL POLL: USA Today/Suffolk
Kennedy Jr 13%
Kennedy Jr 14%
Trump 58% (+10)
DeSantis 12% (-11)
Haley 11% (+7)
— InteractivePolls (@IAPolls2022) October 23, 2023
RFK had challenged Biden in the Democratic Party’s presidential primary but decided to launch an independent bid.
Kennedy cited what he called unfair treatment from his former party.
West is a left-wing activist who is now challenging Biden as an independent from the left.
Kennedy said that his candidacy represented “independence from the cynical elites who betray our hope and who amplify our divisions.” He also said that his campaign represented “independence from the two political parties.”
The entry of these third party candidates could have a profound effect on next year’s election. In addition to affecting the national popular vote, it is not yet clear how either Kennedy or West would affect the Electoral College, and whether or not the effort would help either Trump or Biden more.
However, many Republicans have been critical of Kennedy since he announced his independent bid for Congress, referencing his previous support for left-wing causes. This includes a number of issues related to climate change and support for reparations.