Robert Kennedy, Jr. continues to pick up steam in the Democratic presidential primary, rising to 21 percent compared to incumbent President Joe Biden’s 70 percent, according to the latest poll by Emerson taken April 24 to April 25. Marianne Williamson scored 8 percent.
Kennedy’s showing including 17.1 percent of Democrats and a whopping of 33.7 percent of independents who participated in the poll — a number of states including New Hampshire and South Carolina have open primaries where independents can vote — that has the potential to expose weaknesses in Biden’s recently announced 2024 reelection bid.
Usually, incumbent presidents run relatively unopposed in their party’s primary, and the ones who have competitive primaries could end up faring poorly in the general election. There are still several months to go before the first primaries in early 2024 and not a single vote has been cast, the few polls that have been taken show with Biden pitted against actual declared candidates show a consistent protest vote.
In the meantime, in the Republican primary, former President Donald Trump has opened up a 46-point lead among his closest GOP rivals, including Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who has yet to announce a presidential bid, 62 percent to 16 percent. Former Vice President Mike Pence gets 7 percent.
For challengers, a strong showing among a competitive field can portend well for the general election, as it shows the opposition party is united, which could make Republicans’ bid to pick up independent and lower propensity voters easier in the general election.
On that count, in a general election contest between Biden and Trump, independents are wide open in the Emerson poll: 33 percent of independent prefer Biden, 33 percent prefer Trump and 33 percent are undecided or would rather have someone else.
As a result, Biden only garners 43 percent in the poll versus Trump, who garners 41 percent.
That makes 2024 almost a coin flip at this point, and it’s still a year out from the primaries, and appears to show exceptional weakness on the part of the incumbent. Reelections are usually something of a breeze for incumbent presidents — they win about 70 percent of the time — and barring a weak economy or some other event, such as an unpopular war, are a referendum usually on the performance of the current officeholder.
And right now Biden is showing exceptional weakness, particularly among independents who are the kingmakers in our elections. The fact they aren’t immediately choosing Biden could be very problematic.
For Republicans, including Trump, who appears to have little trouble getting Republicans to vote for him, an opportunity is therefore being presented to build support by making key inroads to independents, yes, but also liberal Democrats who appear to prefer Kennedy and Williamson in the current primary.
How would they make things better looking forward? That is the question.
Right now, the issue taking hold appears to be the economy, with a string of regional bank failures, a slowing Gross Domestic Product, and although inflation has slowed down a tad, that usually means unemployment could be about to rise, with the Federal Reserve and the White House Office of Management and Budget projecting about 4.6 percent unemployment in 2024, an implied 2 million jobs that could be lost by the time Biden is standing for general election.
Meaning, 2024 could be shaping up to be a very interesting contest as a potential rematch between two presidents and independents open to persuasion. As usual, stay tuned.
Robert Romano is the Vice President of Public Policy at Americans for Limited Government Foundation.
This post, Poll: Kennedy up to 21 percent against Biden, Trump opens up 46-point lead in GOP contest, as one-third of independents undecided in general election, was originally published on The Daily Torch and is republished here with permission. Please support their efforts.