Trump Loses Support to RFK Jr. When Voters Learn about Kennedy’s Virulent Antivax Claims

WaPo:When informed about RFK Jr.'s crackpot theories, Republicans became more open to supporting Kennedy, while Democrats soured on him

RFK Jr at antivax event
Robert Kennedy Jr., left, stands at a rally held in opposition to a proposed bill that would remove parents’ ability to claim a philosophical exemption to opt their school-age children out of the combined measles, mumps and rubella vaccine, Friday, Feb. 8, 2019, at the Capitol in Olympia, Wash. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)

Polls consistently find that around 15 to 20 percent of voters say they’ll vote for Robert F. Kennedy Jr. for president. Today, five months out from Election Day, Kennedy’s support remains a proverbial jump ball in the campaign. At first, Kennedy attracted support from Democrats. But now there is evidence that he is pulling support from both parties, with some polls showing his support coming increasingly from Donald Trump.

Writing in the Washington Post, Aaron Blake says that a recent Monmouth University poll “gets at why the Kennedy effect might shift in Biden’s favor.”

Blake writes that when voters are informed about Kennedy’s crackpot theories on vaccination and public health, “Republicans say they become more open to supporting Kennedy, while Democrats sour on him.”

Overall, poll results showed that “fewer than one in five voters say they will definitely (5 percent) or probably (13 percent) vote for Kennedy in November. This 18 percent potential support level is down slightly from 21 percent in December.”

The poll found that Democrats were slightly more likely than Republicans to vote for Kennedy. Poll results changed after voters were asked if they were aware of Kennedy’s longstanding practice of spreading disinformation about vaccines and contagious diseases – specifically his claims that autism is linked to vaccines and that covid was bioengeneered to spare Jews and Chinese people.

Among all voters, 55 percent were familiar with Kennedy’s positions. By party, 60 percent of Democrats knew about his claims while just half of Republicans did. After being informed about Kennedy’s claims, these same voters were asked again who they’d vote for. The number of Republicans who would vote for Kennedy rose to 20 percent, while Democratic support dropped to 10 percent.

Among bipartisan Biden-Trump “double haters,” just 40 percent knew about Kennedy’s antivax and retrograde positions on public health. When his theories were taken into account, double-hater support for Kennedy dropped from 38 percent to 26 percent.

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