Latest Polling Shows Third-Party Candidates Hurting Biden in Crucial Swing States

Robert F. Kennedy Jr.
by Mary Lou Masters


Independent Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and other third-party candidates appear to be hurting President Joe Biden — and boosting former President Donald Trump — when on the ballot in four key battleground states, a poll released Thursday found.

Trump’s leads grow against Biden among likely voters in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan and North Carolina when Kennedy, independent Cornel West and Green Party candidate Jill Stein are on the ballot, according to The Cook Political Report/BSG/GS Strategy Group survey. The margins between Trump and Biden don’t change in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin in a five-way race, while the former president’s nine-point lead drops by one point in Nevada.

DCNF-logoWith Kennedy and the other third-party candidates are included in the poll, Trump’s margins grow from one to four points in Arizona; from two to three points in Michigan; from three to four points in Georgia; and from seven to eight points in North Carolina.

The poll found Kennedy notching 10 percent in Nevada, Arizona, and Georgia; 7 percent in Pennsylvania and Michigan; 8 percent in North Carolina; and 9 percent in Wisconsin.

Regardless of Kennedy and the other third-party candidates’ presence on the ballot, Trump leads Biden in all of the battleground states polled except for Wisconsin, where the two were tied in both scenarios.

Biden’s campaign, the Democratic National Committee and other outside groups have ramped up efforts to combat Kennedy and other third-party candidates in 2024 over concerns their presence on the ballot could siphon more votes from the president than Trump.

The RealClearPolitics averages for each battleground state suggest Trump’s leads grow against Biden when Kennedy, West and Stein are on the ballot in ArizonaNevadaWisconsinPennsylvaniaNorth Carolina and Georgia. Conversely, the former president loses ground in a five-way race in Michigan.

Trump lost Arizona, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Georgia and Michigan last cycle after having won them all in 2016. Nevada voted Democratic both cycles, while Trump secured North Carolina in 2016 and 2020.

The Cook Political Report/BSG/GS Strategy Group survey polled 3,969 likely voters across the seven battleground states between May 6 and May 13 with a margin of error of plus or minus 1.6 percent.

Individually, the poll garnered 730 respondents in Pennsylvania, 606 in Michigan, 601 in North Carolina, 600 in Georgia, 527 in Arizona, 503 in Wisconsin and 402 in Nevada. The survey yielded margins of error of plus or minus 3.6 percent in Pennsylvania; 4 percent in North Carolina, Michigan and Georgia; 4.3 percent in Arizona; 4.4 percent in Wisconsin; and 4.9 percent in Nevada.

The campaigns for Biden, Trump and Kennedy did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s requests for comment.

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Mary Lou Masters is a reporter at Daily Caller News Foundation.
Photo “Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.” by Gage Skidmore CC BY-SA 2.0.



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