Apr 25, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Biden's happy polling surprise

This is Biden

Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

A trio of recent polls shows that Robert F. Kennedy Jr.'s independent candidacy may be hurting former President Trump more than President Biden.

Why it matters: President Biden says his polling numbers are moving in the right direction. They look even better when the latest results for Robert F. Kennedy Jr. are factored in.

By the numbers: Biden and Trump are tied 46%-46% in the latest Quinnipiac University national poll.

  • Throw RFK in the mix, and it's still tied 37%-37%.
  • But force RFK voters to choose and they break 47%-29% for Trump.
  • That dynamic is consistent with two other polls — a Marist survey on Monday and a NBC News one on Sunday — that show Biden's margin increasing when RFK and other third party candidates are included.

Driving the news: Biden is convinced that his numbers are moving in the right direction. He especially likes that top line Marist number: 51%-48%.

  • "The Marist Poll now has us up by three nationwide," he said at a campaign event in Tampa on Tuesday.
  • "More importantly, the momentum is clearly in our — our favor," he said. "People are beginning to listen."

Reality check: It's not all good news for Biden.

  • A monthly Bloomberg survey out Wednesday showed that Biden's only ahead in one of seven battleground states and that a small bump from last month has faded away.

Zoom out: Biden's campaign is built on the assumption that voters will eventually warm to Biden once they process the possible return of Trump,

  • On everything from abortion to inflation, Biden wants to turn the campaign into a choice between him and Trump, instead of a straight referendum on his presidency.
  • Biden's early fundraising advantage – and some $50 million in ads they have placed since Labor Day – will chip away at Trump's 2023 lead, while convincing key voting groups to come home, top advisers tell Axios.

Zoom in: Biden's three point lead in the Marist survey jumps to five points, when RFK and two other third party candidates — Jill Stein and Cornel West — are included.

  • When NBC added the third party choices to the list, Biden pulled ahead of Trump 39%-37%

Between the lines: Biden's advisers have argued that RFK, a Democrat until late last year, will siphon more votes away from Biden than Trump.

  • But RFK himself is making direct appeals to Trump supporters, with promises to "seal the border" from undocumented migrants.
  • Conservative media, after first giving RFK lots of airtime, is not covering him nearly as much, Axios has reported.
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