Pollster Joe Bedell told UnHerd why we shouldn't dismiss the insurgent candidate
One year out from the US presidential election, an extensive new national survey carried out by Stack Data Strategy has shown that if a Biden-Trump election were held today, Donald Trump would win. Just as interesting a conclusion from the polling is the hugely disruptive impact Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is having on both candidates’ electoral prospects.
Stack polled 15,000 Americans and then projected results down to a state and local level. Joe Bedell, the organisation’s Associate Director, spoke to UnHerd’s Freddie Sayers about what we can glean from these findings.
Bedell told UnHerd that, while Trump was projected to win 292 electoral votes and so the presidency, he would lose the popular vote, just as he did in 2016. “He’s essentially rebuilding the pathway that he had in 2016 to the presidency,” the pollster claimed. “So in 2016, Trump won states like Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Arizona, and Georgia. In 2020, Biden flipped those states back.”
Meanwhile, Kennedy’s influence is emerging as a key factor in determining who will win the presidency next year. While Stack predicts Kennedy taking 8% votes nationally in a poll which includes other independent candidates, two further surveys from the New York Times and Quinnipiac University predict a much more significant gain for him, 24% and 22% respectively. Stack did not poll for a three-way battle between Trump, Biden and Kennedy, which may explain the discrepancy between the results.
While the NYT polling showed Kennedy taking more votes from Trump, Bedell argued that, in Stack’s survey, “RFK is taking 8% of Biden voters in that electorate. And then he’s taking only about 7% of Trump’s 2020 numbers. So he’s pulling about a point more from former Biden voters, and that can obviously swing states like Nevada to Trump.”
The list of donations to Kennedy’s campaign suggests that his support base is more Republican than Democratic, but Bedell claimed that this observation doesn’t tell the whole story.
Donald Trump might be leading the pack, then, according to the Stack data, but Kennedy’s disruptive potential is bound to shape whatever happens in 2024.