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Thursday, November 9, 2023

No, RFK Jr. Is Not Going to Win Double Digits

 In The Politics of Autism, I analyze the discredited notion that vaccines cause autism. This bogus idea can hurt people by allowing diseases to spread  And among those diseases could be COVID-19.

Antivaxxers are sometimes violent, often abusive, and always wrongA leading anti-vaxxer is presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.  He has repeatedly compared vaccine mandates to the Holocaust.  Rolling Stone and Salon retracted an RFK article linking vaccines to autism.

A new poll seems to show substantial support for him in swing states.  There is a catch. Look carefully at the survey:  It identifies him as "Robert F. Kennedy Jr., the independent" with no further information.  Voters like "independence" and they surely have heard the Kennedy name.  But do they know anything about the man and his bizarre views?  Probably not.  Votes are unhappy with a choice between two old men, "The independent" is merely a proxy for "none of the above." 

Reid J. Epstein, Ruth Igielnik and Camille Baker at NYT:
A looming rematch next year between President Biden and former President Donald J. Trump has left voters deeply dissatisfied with their options, longing for alternatives and curious about independent candidates like Robert F. Kennedy Jr., according to new polls of six battleground states conducted by The New York Times and Siena College.

Both Mr. Biden and Mr. Trump are viewed unfavorably by a majority of voters in these states, one-fifth of voters don’t like either of them, and enthusiasm about the coming election is down sharply compared with a poll conducted before the 2020 contest.

That frustration and malaise have prompted voters to entertain the idea of other options. When asked about the likeliest 2024 matchup, Mr. Biden versus Mr. Trump, only 2 percent of those polled said they would support another candidate. But when Mr. Kennedy’s name was included as an option, nearly a quarter said they would choose him.

That number almost surely inflates the support of Mr. Kennedy, the political scion and vaccine skeptic, because two-thirds of those who said they would back him had said earlier that they would definitely or probably vote for one of the two front-runners.