RFK Jr. hurts Trump’s election chances more than Biden’s: Poll

Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s independent presidential candidacy could hurt former President Trump more than President Biden at the ballot box, according to an NBC News poll of the race.

Trump holds a 2-point lead over Biden in the head-to-head poll released Sunday. But with third-party candidates added Biden takes a lead over the former president.

In a five-way race between Trump, Biden, Kennedy, independent Cornel West and Green Party candidate Jill Stein, Biden takes the 2-point lead. The incumbent has about 39 percent support to Trump’s 37 percent, while Kennedy takes about 13 percent of the vote.

Of the Biden supporters in a head-to-head match-up, about 7 percent switched to Kennedy. For Trump supporters, that proportion shot up to 15 percent.

Republicans also hold a more favorable view of Kennedy than Democrats, according to the poll. About 40 percent of GOP voters liked Kennedy, compared to just 16 percent of Democrats. A majority of Democrats, 53 percent, have a negative opinion of him.

“At this stage, [Kennedy’s] appeal looks to be more with Trump than Biden voters,” pollster Jeff Horwitt said.

Both Biden and Trump have levied attacks on Kennedy, as political analysts question the impact of the unorthodox independent candidate. A lifetime Democrat but also an anti-establishment vaccine skeptic, Kennedy has drawn support and ire from both parties.

Polls on Kennedy’s impact have gone both ways, with a majority finding that he could hurt Biden’s chances more than Trump’s.

The Biden campaign has doubled down on anti-Kennedy messaging in recent weeks, releasing ads bragging about endorsements from nearly the entire Kennedy family. Kennedy, the son of the former attorney general and nephew of the former president, does not have any endorsements from his politically influential family.

On Monday, abortion-rights group Reproductive Freedom for All Freedom Fund launched ads in the swing states of Michigan and Wisconsin that sought to cast doubt on Kennedy’s stance on the procedure.

The same day, pro-Trump super PAC Make America Great Again Inc. blasted out a Fox News report about Kennedy’s previous criticism of voter ID laws, a hot-button issue for those on the right.

The actions underscore the degree to which both sides see Kennedy as a potential threat as his media profile rises. Kennedy scored headlines over the weekend during a Michigan rally when he said he wanted to put the American budget “on blockchain.”

The NBC News poll surveyed 1,000 registered voters over the course of last week, with a margin of error of 3.1 percent.

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