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Reblogged:20% Support Is a Lot -- Just for RFK Jr.?

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As expected, conspiracy nut RFK, Jr. declared himself an independent candidate yesterday.

Naturally, the leftist media are fretting about whether the Democrat scion will harm Biden more than he will Trump:
When Kennedy announced that he was running for the Democratic nomination in April, he immediately put up surprisingly strong polling numbers. In early summer some surveys showed that he had the support of 20% of Democratic voters, and recently he's been averaging around 15% support. He's never gotten close to President Joe Biden, who has averaged over 60% support in polls throughout the year, but Kennedy's numbers have been high enough to raise questions of whether the president has some vulnerability among the Democratic electorate. [bold added]
This report and several like it reach a similar conclusion to mine: RFK, Jr. will also siphon off nutters and other less intellectually fastidious types who vote Republican.

It is interesting to compare this with media coverage, left and right, of Biden's non-incumbent counterpart in the GOP, who still has to win his party's nomination.

Granted, this is a little different than the normally two-man race for the Presidency, but even with Trump basically owning much of his party's apparatus, he's under multiple indictments and has soft support outside his personality cult.

And yet you constantly see headlines touting his huge (current and very early) lead in polling -- in outlets that arguably want Trump to be the GOP candidate because (a) they're partisan left and see him as Biden's best hope or (b) are Trumpists hoping to ramrod his candidacy through before anyone has a chance to think very much.

But even people on the right not wedded to Trump do this. A couple of examples: Hot Air recently put out a post titled "Next GOP Debate Moving Forward for Some Reason." And then, with Nikki Haley winning both GOP debates and polling around 20% in New Hampshire, we get this, from a column crediting Haley with doing all the right things to position herself as a Trump alternative:
Most voters as of today. (Image by Shane, via Unsplash, license.)
The bad news for Haley is that the anyone-but-Trump voters are not the majority for the GOP right now. The former president is clearly the runaway favorite for base voters and not just in the polls. When I talk to the Georgia Republicans most likely to vote in the 2024 primary, the energy and the issues and the sheer momentum are pure MAGA. They're with Trump.

But the good news for Haley is that if Republicans ever do need a Plan B, she's doing everything right to be the ripcord GOP voters can pull if Trump's campaign ever seems headed for a free fall. And with Trump, the bottom of the barrel never seems far away. [bold added]
"Anyone but Trump" voters don't have to be the majority, and in early stages, ignorance of alternatives is any alternative's biggest obstacle. Many voters receptive to Trump, but wary of his poor electoral record and weary of his pugilism, would be very easy for someone like Haley to win over.

It's early days, yes, but if Biden is weak because someone out of left field draws 20% of the vote away from him, what does that say about Trump?

-- CAV

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