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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

New Q Poll May Offer Insight About Third Party Effects

The new Quinnipiac Poll, which finds Biden leading Trump, is generating a lot of buzz, even though it could be an outlier and it’s only one poll. Sarah Fortinsky reports on it with a slightly different take at The Hill:

Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley leads President Biden by 5 points in a hypothetical head-to-head 2024 match-up, according to a poll released Wednesday, but she trails him by 7 points in a five-person race including third-party candidates.

In the Quinnipiac University national poll, Haley’s popularity among independents would boost her numbers in a one-on-one match-up against Biden, but her weak support among Republicans would hurt her when factoring in independent candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

In a two-person race, Haley receives 47 percent support and Biden receives 42 percent support. Among independents, 53 percent support Haley and 37 percent support Biden. Among Republicans, 79 percent support Haley and 4 percent support Biden. Among Democrats, 89 percent support Biden and 10 percent support Haley.

In a five-person race, however, Haley loses independent and Republican voters, letting Biden pull ahead with a 7-point lead. Biden receives 36 percent support, Haley receives 29 percent, Kennedy gets 21 percent, Independent Cornel West gets 3 percent and Green Party candidate Jill Stein gets 2 percent.

With five people in the race, Haley sees her support among Republican drop from 79 percent to only 57 percent. Kennedy would get 24 percent GOP support, Biden would get 3 percent and West would get 1 percent.

Fortinsky adds that “Biden holds a 6-point lead over Trump one-on-one, 50 percent to 44 percent. A five-person race, however, narrows his lead, bringing Biden’s support to 39 percent, followed by Trump’s support at 37 percent. Kennedy then follows with 14 percent, West receives 3 percent and Stein receives 2 percent….In a head-to-head matchup against Biden, Haley outperforms Trump, thanks to independents. Add third party candidates to the mix and her numbers slip in part because of her weakness among Republicans,” Quinnipiac University Polling Analyst Tim Malloy said in the poll’s press release.”

As always, one poll doesn’t flag a credible trend, especially this early in the 2024 campaign. But if other polls going forward reveal similar results, the Kennedy factor may be significant in deciding the election outcomes in November – one way or the other.

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