By Dave Andrusko
A quick look at two polls released today show the impact of third party candidates on the fortunes of front runners, President Biden and former President Trump.
Former President Donald Trump widened his lead over President Joe Biden in a head-to-head matchup by 1 point and is winning by 6 points in a three-way race with newly-independent Robert F. Kennedy Jr., according to a Monday poll.
Trump is beating Biden 46% to 41%, with 14% being undecided, which is up from 44% to 40% in September, according to a Harvard CAPS/Harris survey. In a three-way race with Kennedy garnering 19% of the share, Trump held 39% support compared to Biden’s 33%, with 9% remaining undecided.
The former president’s margin increases by 2 points against Biden in a four-way matchup with Kennedy and Cornel West, who garnered 3% support, according to the poll. For a head-to-head matchup, a three-way and a four-way race, Trump is leading the field among independent voters at 39%, 31% and 31% respectively.
But an “exclusive poll,” conducted by USA Today/Suffolk University, “suggests that Trump and Biden are tied with 41% support for a 2024 rematch,” according to Susan Page, Sudiksha Kochi, Savannah Kuchar, and Karissa Waddick:
It’s a tie: One year before the presidential election, Joe Biden and Donald Trump each command 37% of the vote in a new USA TODAY/Suffolk University Poll − with independent candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. costing Trump what would have been a narrow lead.
Kennedy, scion of the nation’s most revered Democratic family, won 13% of the vote in a hypothetical match-up, drawing voters who by 2-1 said they would otherwise support the probable Republican nominee.
Progressive activist Cornel West, who also plans an independent campaign, is at 4%. His supporters would break to Biden if he weren’t on the ballot. …
An early October Reuters/Ipsos survey found that Kennedy would siphon off votes from both Trump and Biden, with the independent candidate receiving 14% support. Trump beat Biden by 2 points in the three-way race, with 9% saying they wouldn’t vote and 13% remaining unsure.
Digging deeper into the USA TODAY/Suffolk University Poll we learn that
Without Kennedy in the mix, Trump would edge Biden 41%-39%, a lead within the survey’s margin of error, with West at 7%. Without West in the mix, Biden would edge Trump by an even narrower margin, 38%-37%, with Kennedy at 14%.With neither Kennedy nor West on the ballot, Biden and Trump would tie 41%-41%.