As the 2024 presidential race moves closer toward the first primary votes, former President Donald Trump remains the clear front-runner in a crowded field of Republican contenders.
Recent polling also shows Trump several points ahead of President Joe Biden in a head-to-head matchup.
Of course, there are other candidates poised to disrupt the two-party system in next year’s election, but the inclusion of two independent candidates in a new survey by The Messenger and HarrisX did not cost Trump his advantage over Biden.
Both Robert F. Kennedy, who initially entered the race as a Democrat and leftist academic Cornel West are currently seeking the presidency as independents. According to the results of the recent poll, Trump received support from 38% of respondents — three points more than Biden.
Kennedy attracted 13% support and support for West was a nominal 2%.
The survey also found that Trump had a four-point lead over Biden in a two-person race, leading the incumbent by 45% to 41%.
As for Kennedy’s substantial draw, evidence suggests his candidacy is impacting Biden and Trump almost equally. Despite his left-leaning views on a number of issues, he has attracted some support from the right due to his stance on topics including vaccines and free speech.
HarrisX CEO Drtian Nesho explained the disruptive role that Kennedy’s independent White House bid appears to be having thus far in the race.
“As an independent candidate, RFK Jr. pulls equal numbers of 2020 Trump and Biden voters and wins the lion’s share of undecided independents, hurting Trump more than Biden in the process and thus making the horserace closer,” he said.
The average between two most recent polls in a four-way race shows Trump leading Biden by 3.5 points.
Harvard-Harris and USA Today:
— Quantus Polls and News (@QPollsandnews) October 23, 2023
Another recent poll, however, determined that Trump appeared to benefit from a three-way race between Trump, Biden, and Kennedy, with support of respondents divided 39%, 33%, and 19%, respectively.
While a Suffolk University/USA Today poll released earlier this month found that Biden had a slim one-point lead over Trump — 37% to 36% — in a four-way race, the news was not all good for the president. Nearly three-fourths of all respondents said they believe the country is headed in the wrong direction.
Kennedy and West received 13% and 4% support, respectively, in that survey.