Anti-vaccine activist and Democratic presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. could pull votes from about 1 in 7 U.S. voters, a Reuters/Ipsos poll found.
Kennedy is expected to leave the Democratic race against President Biden and announce he is running as an independent candidate next week, Reuters reported. In doing so, he could potentially draw votes away from Biden and his likely Republican challenger, former President Trump, in the upcoming election.
While both are front-runners in their parties, polling shows neither Biden nor Trump are receiving enthusiasm from voters about being the likely nominees. The survey asked respondents, between Biden and Trump, whom they would vote for if tomorrow’s election was held. The front-runners tied, each receiving 35 percent.
In a race expected to be decided by a handful of states, Kennedy entering the mix complicates the outcome for both Biden and Trump.
In a hypothetical three-way match-up, Kennedy earned 14 percent, while Biden fell to 31 percent and Trump dropped to 33 percent. About 9 percent said they wouldn’t vote in the 2024 presidential election, and 13 percent said they weren’t sure whom they would vote for.
Kennedy, son and namesake of the assassinated Democratic New York senator and nephew of former President John F. Kennedy, belongs to a family with strong ties to the American political system and benefits from a well-known name.
While he hasn’t made much headway against the Democratic front-runner, Kennedy has appealed to some Democratic voters and has the potential to gain traction among Republicans.
More respondents in the poll said they had a favorable view of Kennedy than an unfavorable view. Nearly half, 48 percent, of respondents said they had a good view of the lawyer, beating Biden and Trump’s 40 percent each. Comparatively, 38 percent said they had an unfavorable view of Kennedy, and 14 percent said they had never heard of him.
In his second-quarter filings, Kennedy reportedly brought in a total of $6 million for his campaign, $3 million of which was financed in three days.