Trump Criticizes RFK Jr. as Polls Show Independent Candidate Threatens 2024 Campaign

Robert F. Kennedy Jr.'s independent presidential bid poses a threat to both Trump and Biden, potentially siphoning votes from both camps, as per a new NBC News poll.

Ebenezer Mensah
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Trump Criticizes RFK Jr. as Polls Show Independent Candidate Threatens 2024 Campaign

Trump Criticizes RFK Jr. as Polls Show Independent Candidate Threatens 2024 Campaign

Former President Donald Trump has expressed concerns about independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and his potential impact on the 2024 election. Trump initially dismissed Kennedy as President Joe Biden's political opponent, but has since stepped up efforts to brand him as a left-wing candidate who could attract Republican voters.

A new NBC News poll suggests that Kennedy may actually be drawing more support from Trump than Biden. In a head-to-head matchup, Trump leads Biden by 46% to 44%.

However, when Kennedy and other third-party candidates are included, Biden takes a 2-point lead with 39% of the vote, compared to Trump's 37% and Kennedy's 13%. The poll finds that 15% of respondents who initially picked Trump instead chose Kennedy in the five-way ballot, while only 7% who initially picked Biden chose Kennedy.

Republicans view Kennedy more favorably than Democrats, with 40% expressing a positive opinion compared to just 15% who have a negative view. In contrast, a majority of Democratic voters (53%) express a negative opinion of Kennedy, with only 16% viewing him positively. This is partly due to praise from conservative media and Trump allies.

Why this matters: The impact of Kennedy's independent campaign on the 2024 presidential race could be significant, potentially siphoning votes away from either Trump or Biden. As an anti-establishment candidate, Kennedy shares some appeal with Trump supporters, while also attracting vaccine-skeptical voters.

The Biden campaign has taken the threat of Kennedy seriously, bringing on a veteran operative to combat political dangers from him and other third-party candidates. Democrats are increasing their efforts to counter Kennedy, who has criticized Trump from the right on issues like pandemic response and deficit spending.

The Kennedy family has officially endorsed Biden, with Kerry Kennedy stating that "the best way forward for America is to reelect Biden and Harris, and that nearly every single grandchild of Joe and Rose Kennedy supports Biden for president."

While polls on Kennedy's impact have gone both ways, with some indicating he pulls more support from Biden and others showing he pulls more from Trump, both parties are concerned about the effect he could have on the race. As Trump ally Steve Bannon noted, "Kennedy is definitely a problem. We're going to have to deal with him." The overall impact of Kennedy's presidential campaign remains uncertain, and will likely depend on which states feature him on the ballot in November.

Key Takeaways

  • Trump concerned about RFK Jr.'s independent 2024 bid, sees him as threat to GOP
  • Polls show RFK Jr. drawing more support from Trump than Biden voters
  • Republicans view RFK Jr. more favorably than Democrats, who see him negatively
  • Biden campaign taking RFK Jr. threat seriously, increasing efforts to counter him
  • RFK Jr.'s overall impact on 2024 race remains uncertain, depends on ballot access