The Declaration of the Independents – What Kennedy and West Mean for the 2024 Presidential Race: There has been an unofficial “declaration of the independents” in the run-up to the 2024 presidential race, as a small but increasingly vocal handful of third-party candidates could seriously impact the outcome.
Just over a year out from Election Day, a new poll from USA Today/Suffolk University finds President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump in a tie in a hypothetical rematch – with each maintaining about 37 percent support if independent candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is in the mix.
Kennedy, the son of the late former Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy and nephew of the late former President John F. Kennedy had 13 percent of the vote in the recent poll. More importantly, Kennedy’s run as an independent actually cost Trump more votes than Biden by a ratio of two to one.
However, Kennedy isn’t the only potential independent in the race at this point. Progressive activist Cornel West has vowed to challenge Biden and currently has about four percent support. Most of those voters would likely break to Biden if West dropped out.
Yes to No Labels
Then there is the fact that more than a quarter of voters – 26 percent – polled by USA Today/Suffolk University said they’d seriously consider supporting a bipartisan ticket of a Republican and Democrat (not named Trump or Biden) from the centrist No Labels. Another 23 percent said they’d consider it, depending on the nominees.
More Biden voters than Trump voters – 28 percent compared with 18 percent – said they might say yes to the No Labels ticket. That could certainly play into the former president’s favor.
Kennedy and West Impact the Race
In a rematch without Kennedy in the mix but with West, the poll found that Trump maintains a slight edge over Biden, 41 to 39 percent, a lead within the survey’s margin of error. West’s support increased to seven percent. Without West but Kennedy in, Biden edges Trump by an even narrow margin, 38 to 37 percent – while Kennedy stands at 14 percent.
Without either of those third-party candidates in the race (and without a No Labels ticket) Biden and Trump are neck and neck at 41 percent each.
Kennedy could truly be Joe Biden’s lucky charm in a three-way race. As reported last week, according to the NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist Poll, Biden currently comes out on top with 44 percent support, while Trump had 37 percent support, and 16 percent for Kennedy. The remaining three percent were undecided.
The same poll found that Biden’s seven-point advantage over Trump narrowed to just three points in a two-way race – a rematch of 2020 – with 49 percent backing Biden, 46 percent behind Trump, and five percent undecided. In a head-to-head match-up, each candidate received about 91 percent of the support from their respective parties, with six percent support from the opposing parties.
Third-party candidates stand little to no chance of actually winning a presidential race – unless it is on Showtime’s “Billions” – but they have proven to be spoilers for the major parties. It is now clear that in a rematch between Biden and Trump the wild card will be whoever else is in the race!
Author Experience and Expertise
A Senior Editor for 19FortyFive, Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer. He has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers, and websites with over 3,200 published pieces over a twenty-year career in journalism. He regularly writes about military hardware, firearms history, cybersecurity, politics, and international affairs. Peter is also a Contributing Writer for Forbes and Clearance Jobs. You can follow him on Twitter: @PeterSuciu.
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