Biden Benefits from Third-Party Support, Poll Reveals

Third-party candidates reshape the 2024 presidential race landscape

by Zain ul Abedin
Biden Benefits from Third-Party Support, Poll Reveals
© Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

In an intriguing twist in the upcoming presidential race, third-party candidates might unexpectedly bolster President Joe Biden's prospects against former President Donald Trump, according to a recent NBC News poll released on Sunday.

As the November election approaches, polling data has consistently indicated a neck-and-neck competition between Biden and Trump, with the latter recently edging ahead in pivotal swing states such as Arizona and Michigan.

However, national polls have slightly favored Biden, albeit often by a slim margin. The emergence of several third-party and independent candidates has added a complex layer to the electoral dynamics. Many voters express dissatisfaction with both Biden and Trump, the likely nominees of the major parties.

While Democratic strategists have expressed concerns that independent candidates could siphon votes from Biden, the latest NBC News survey suggests a different scenario - these candidates might actually divert more support from Trump.

The poll, conducted from April 12 to 16 with 1,000 U.S. adult voters participating, showed Trump leading Biden by 2 percentage points in a direct head-to-head matchup. However, when the poll introduced a five-candidate ballot - featuring Biden, Trump, Robert F.

Kennedy Jr., Green Party’s Jill Stein, and independent Cornel West - Biden took a slight lead over Trump by 2 percentage points.

Shifting Electoral Dynamics

The detailed breakdown from the five-way contest showed Biden at 39 percent and Trump at 37 percent, with Kennedy Jr.

capturing 13 percent, Stein 3 percent, and West 2 percent. Notably, Trump lost 15 percent of his base to Kennedy Jr., while Biden’s support dipped by 7 percent. The margin of error for the poll is plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.

Kennedy Jr., a relative of political icons and initially a Democratic contender, has declared himself an independent. Initially supported by Trump, Kennedy Jr. has since been criticized by the former president, who recently labeled him as “the most radical left candidate in the race” due to his controversial views on issues like vaccines.

Kennedy Jr.' s campaign has positioned him as a bridge across traditional party lines, with his campaign spokesperson claiming he transcends "the right-left paradigm." This sentiment is echoed by the poll results, which reveal broad voter disillusionment with the traditional candidates - 52 percent hold a negative view of Biden, and 53 percent view Trump unfavorably.

Additionally, Kennedy Jr. himself is viewed negatively by 32 percent of the electorate. Pollsters Jeff Horwitt and Bill McInturff commented on the findings, highlighting the widespread voter fatigue and desire for alternatives in this election cycle.