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Monday, April 29, 2024

Knowledge of RFK

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.

Ariel Edwards-Levy at CNN:

Kennedy, who carries a storied surname, enjoys the sort of name recognition that most presidential challengers would envy. In the March Quinnipiac poll, 31% of registered voters said they hadn’t heard enough about him to form an opinion, compared to 71% for West, and 69% for Stein. But other polling suggests a significant gap between awareness of his existence and deeper knowledge of his positions: In a December Monmouth poll, roughly half of registered voters said they hadn’t heard anything about Kennedy’s positions on public health issues such as Covid-19 and vaccines, with a similar share saying they weren’t aware of Kennedy’s support for unsupported “claims that autism is linked to vaccines.”

From Monmouth:

The Monmouth University Poll finds just half (50%) of the voting public is aware Kennedy supports claims that autism is linked to vaccines and has said that Covid is “targeted to attack” people of certain races. This information however does not seem to have any meaningful impact on his support among American voters. The number who will definitely or probably vote for Kennedy after hearing this information moves a statistically insignificant one point upwards to 22% while the number who probably or definitely will not vote for him goes up by just two points to 76%.

“Kennedy’s name may be well-known, but his policy positions are not. However, it’s not clear that knowing those positions will move his support levels either up or down. At the current time, he appears to be more of a placeholder for expressing some generalized dissatisfaction with the likely trajectory of the 2024 nomination process,” said [Patrick] Murray.