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Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Emerges as a Contender in 2024 Presidential Landscape

Robert F. Kennedy has become a serious contender in the 2024 Presidential election.

When Robert F. Kennedy Jr. announced that he was running as an independent candidate in October of 2023, he pledged to “spoil” the contest. It turns out he might just do that, with recent polling by Quinnipiac University shedding light on the potential impact of his candidacy in a hypothetical three-way race against President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump. The survey, conducted from October 26-30 and involving 1,610 self-identified registered voters, reveals that Kennedy secured 22 percent support. While Biden led with 39 percent, and Trump garnered 36 percent, the numbers indicate Kennedy’s ability to resonate with many voters across the nation (politico.com). Crucially, Kennedy gained significant backing from independents, with 36 percent supporting him, compared to 31 percent for Trump and 30 percent for Biden (politico.com). 

While the overall percentage might not immediately suggest a breakthrough in the two-party system, the potential impact lies in Kennedy’s ability to influence key states by taking votes from either major candidate. Interestingly, the poll suggests that Kennedy draws more support from Trump than Biden, a trend consistent with previous polling. In a hypothetical head-to-head race between the two former presidents, the survey projects a close race, with Biden at 47 percent and Trump at 46 percent (politico.com). This finding adds a layer of complexity to what has long been depicted as a clear two-man contest between former presidents. “It’s definitely an interesting story to follow as we get closer to the election,” said physical education teacher Coach Maldonato. 

Of particular concern for Democrats is Kennedy’s appeal to young voters, aged 18-34, where he emerged as the leading choice with 38 percent (politico.com). Kennedy, known for his environmental advocacy, declared his independent presidential bid last month, citing disenchantment with partisan politics and criticism of the Democratic primary system. His skepticism regarding COVID-19 vaccine effectiveness has also contributed to his departure from the Democratic party. A recent POLITICO poll also revealed substantial financial backing for Kennedy, with donations coming from individuals who hadn’t contributed in the past two presidential elections but also from donors who have donated in the past, most prominently those who previously donated to Trump rather than Biden (politico.com). 

As the 2024 presidential landscape continues to evolve, Kennedy’s independent candidacy introduces an element of uncertainty. The poll’s results highlight Kennedy’s potential appeal to Americans who want to avoid another Biden or Trump presidency. The coming months will likely bring further clarity on how his presence will affect the rest of the presidential race. “RFK Jr. is most certainly an intriguing candidate for the 2024 election. I think a lot of people want to avoid another Trump or Biden presidency at all costs,” said Chris Werkley, a senior student at Ramapo. 

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