By Manzanita Miller
A recent Economist/YouGov poll shows Robert F. Kennedy Jr. with a significantly higher favorability rating than President Joe Biden. The survey found 49 percent of respondents expressed a positive view of Kennedy, while 30 percent held an unfavorable opinion of him, giving Kennedy a net favorable rating of 19 points. Biden on the other hand holds a favorability rating of -11 points.
This comes on top of a recent Emerson Poll showing Kennedy at 15% among Democratic Primary voters, up from 10% two months ago in another poll.
Most troubling for Biden, Kennedy may be able to attract core members of Biden’s base. Polling shows Kennedy is gaining support with minorities, women, and young people, all groups Biden cannot afford to lose.
Fifteen percent of Blacks and thirteen percent of voters under thirty say they would support Kennedy in the Democratic primaries against Joe Biden.
In addition, Kennedy’s favorability is highest among Black voters. Nearly a quarter of Blacks (24%) say they view Kennedy “very favorably” compared to 10% of Whites and 16% of Hispanics in the poll. Overall, 62% of Blacks view Kennedy either “very favorably” or “somewhat favorably”, giving Kennedy a 44-point favorability rating. Among Whites and Hispanics alike Kennedy holds a 24-point net favorability rating.
Kennedy’s favorability ratings are highest among both very young voters and those over age 65. Fifty percent of voters 18-29 and 49% of voters 65 and above view Kennedy positively. The Democratic contender’s net favorability rating is +27 points with voters under 30 and +12 points with voters over 65.
Lower and middle income voters are Kennedy’s largest supporters, with 49% of those earning less than $50,000 and 51% of those earning between $50,000 and $100,000 a year indicating they have a favorable view of him.
Notably, Trump voters view Kennedy significantly more favorably than Biden voters do, indicating Kennedy is drawing significant support from outside of the Democratic Party. While only 40% of Biden voters view Kennedy favorably, 61% of Trump voters do. Kennedy’s favorability is also highest among Republicans and Independents compared to Democrats. Fifty-six percent of Republicans and 48% of Independents view Kennedy favorability, compared to 44% of Democrats.
When it comes to ideology, Kennedy draws more support from conservatives and moderates than liberals. He is viewed favorably by 56% of conservatives, 54% of moderates and 37% of liberals.
While Kennedy, like former President Trump, polls best among rural voters, he garners significant support from suburban and rural voters too. Just over half (51%) of rural voters view Kennedy favorability, compared to 48% of both suburban and urban voters.
Kennedy’s outsized support among groups who are distinctly not Democrats could pave the way for a third-party run, should he be thwarted in the Democratic primaries, however, Kennedy has stated he intends to win the Democratic nomination.
Previous Morning Consult polling conducted in May found 10% of Democratic primary voters would support Kennedy, which indicates he’s added approximately 5 percentage points of support over the past two months.
That poll as well found the groups President Biden is most at risk of losing to Kennedy include women, younger voters, and middle-class voters.
What is clear is the Biden Administration is losing support among key constituencies, and whether these voters choose to support Kennedy or sit out the Democratic primaries remains to be seen.
Biden currently faces the risk of losing support from various groups, including women, Independents, young people, and working-class voters. The entry of unconventional candidates like Kennedy has led to a growing number of Democrats and leaners moving away from Biden.
If these groups ultimately back Kennedy or another serious contender during the primaries instead of Biden, there is no guarantee they will consolidate their support behind Biden in the general election if he becomes the establishment’s nominee.
Manzanita Miller is an associate analyst with Americans for Limited Government Foundation.
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