Since Kennedy announced he was leaving the Democratic race to run as an independent earlier this month, the debate has swirled over whom he would hurt more, the four-times-indicted ex-president or the incumbent.
But an NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist National Poll released on Tuesday offered an early prediction: Biden would beat Trump by 7 percentage points when Kennedy is factored in.
If the election were held today, Biden would snag 44% of the vote to Trump’s 37%, followed by Kennedy’s 16% with 3% undecided, according to the survey.
Kennedy, whose anti-vaccine views appeal to some conservatives, is simply siphoning off more votes from Trump than Biden.
With the political scion on the ballot, Biden loses 5 percentage points among Democrats while Trump loses 10 points among Republicans, according to the poll.
Kennedy, who has received significant air time on Fox News and other conservative outlets, has been denounced by his own family, but come November 2024, he might just end up a darling for Democrats anyway.
“Although it’s always tricky to assess the impact of a third-party candidate, right now Kennedy alters the equation in Biden’s favour,” Lee M Miringoff, director of the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion, said. “What this does speak to, however, is that about one in six voters are looking for another option, especially independents.”
The poll, conducted on October 11 among 1,313 American adults, shows Biden leading Trump by 3 percentage points in a head-to-head contest.