(Bloomberg) -- Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has the backing of 10% of swing-state voters in his independent presidential bid that is draining support from both Republican and Democratic rivals ahead of next year's election, a Bloomberg News/Morning Consult poll found.
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A vaccine skeptic and proponent of widely debunked conspiracy theories, Kennedy has parlayed his family's name recognition into an outsider bid that the poll shows has found appeal with independents, women and those who voted for third-party candidates in previous elections.
Swing-state voters who say they have unfavorable opinions of both President Joe Biden and Republican frontrunner Donald Trump make up four in 10 Kennedy supporters.
While Kennedy’s anti-vaccine stance is relatively well-known — more than 100 respondents in the poll identified him with the issue in response to an open-ended question — it does not appear to be a significant determinant of whether voters back him. He gets support from 10% of swing-state voters who have received the Covid-19 vaccine, and the same share among those who are not vaccinated.
The poll has an overall margin of error of 1 percentage point and was conducted Oct. 30 to Nov. 7, nearly a month after Kennedy left the Democratic party of his dynastic family to launch an independent bid. Running without major-party backing presents serious obstacles, including having to collect signatures to get on enough state ballots to mount a credible candidacy.
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While independent candidates are often thought of as spoilers, Kennedy doesn’t appear poised to play that role. That’s because his campaign is siphoning support from Trump and Biden in roughly equal measure.
If Kennedy were to notch this level of support nationally on Election Day, it would be the strongest showing by an outsider since Ross Perot won 19% of the popular vote in 1992.
Kennedy is the son of former Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, who was assassinated during his 1968 presidential campaign, and nephew of President John F. Kennedy. He’s also competing with other independent and third-party candidates — including progressive professor Cornel West, who received 1% support in the swing-states poll.
The centrist group No Labels has also secured lines on the ballot in 12 states — including the swing states of Arizona, Nevada and North Carolina — that could go to a candidate to be named at its convention in April 2024.The Bloomberg News/Morning Consult poll surveyed 4,922 registered voters in seven swing states: 800 registered voters in Arizona, 803 in Georgia, 700 in Michigan, 437 in Nevada, 702 in North Carolina, 805 in Pennsylvania and 675 in Wisconsin. The surveys were conducted online from Oct. 30 to Nov. 7, and the aggregated data across the seven swing states were weighted to approximate a target sample of swing state registered voters based on gender, age, race/ethnicity, marital status, home ownership, 2020 presidential vote and state. State-level data were weighted to approximate a target sample of registered voters in the respective state based on gender, age, race/ethnicity, marital status, home ownership, and 2020 presidential vote. The margin of error is plus or minus 1 percentage point across the seven states; 3 percentage points in Arizona, Georgia and Pennsylvania; 4 percentage points in Michigan, North Carolina, and Wisconsin, and 5 percentage points in Nevada.
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