Typically, Independent candidates aren’t thought of as a real threat to major party players in U.S. elections. However, support for Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.’s 2024 campaign continues to grow, and he has a clear vision of his path to the White House.
“I’m in better shape than any independent for 100 years, since Teddy Roosevelt. And, it’s because of young people,” the environmental lawyer told attendees Tuesday at a rally in South Carolina. Video of the event was shared by Forbes Breaking News.
Citing recent polls, Kennedy explained that he just needs to get to around 37% of the vote in enough states to win. That’s because his likely contenders – former President Donald Trump, the current GOP frontrunner, and current President Joe Biden from the Democrat party – are often neck and neck at the polls.
“I don’t need to win majorities, I just need to get up to about 37%” said Kennedy. “That would put me ahead of the other two contenders, and if I do that in… enough states, I can you know – I will win. And we have 12 months to do that.”
According to Siena College/New York Times poll results released earlier this month, Kennedy had 24% of the vote compared to Trump’s 35% and Biden’s 33% in six key battleground states. That poll also found he had “nosed ahead” among voters under age 45. Quinnipiac University poll results from Nov. 1 also found that Kennedy was ahead with younger voters age 18-34.
“With minority and younger voters seeming intrigued, Kennedy, for now, enjoys the kind of demographic support his charismatic father and uncles generated decades ago,” said Quinnipiac University Polling Analyst Tim Malloy.
Robert F. Kennedy, Sr., served as attorney general under President John F. Kennedy. He was assassinated 1968, while campaigning to be president. Kennedy referenced his father during his speech in South Carolina, remarking that he instilled an appreciation for America’s young generations in him.
“I’m the only one who’s talking about what’s happening to young people in this country,” said RFK, Jr. He explained that young people are dealing with increased rates of chronic disease, the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic and a bleak financial situation.
Kennedy initially began his campaign as a Democratic candidate – the party his famous family members are associated with. However, he announced in October that he would run as an independent. Audacy has reported on his criticism of vaccines, an issue favored by Republican voters, as well as his controversial comments about COVID-19 and about how former Trump supporters have donated money to the Kennedy campaign.
At the same time, recent polls have not looked very promising for Biden. Per reports, a fake Democrat did better than him in one, another found that 63% of his own party wants a different candidate, yet another found that Democrats want Biden to face a primary challenger, and the Siena/New York Times poll found Trump leading in key swing states.
At least one poll from this summer found that Kennedy beat out both Trump and Biden in a hypothetical 2024 race.
This week, results of a three-person hypothetical 2024 general election matchup adding independent candidate Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. to the mix from Quinnipiac found that Trump received 38% support, Biden received 37% support, and Kennedy received 21% support. Quinnipiac poll results released earlier this month found that, among independents, 36% support Kennedy, 31% support Trump, and 30% support Biden.
“I am in very, very good shape to win this election,” said Kennedy, who noted that the electoral college votes needed to cinch a presidential win are given in a winner-take-all system.
One of the biggest challenges he faces is actually appearing on the ballot in all 50 states. He said Tuesday that his campaign already has 250,000 volunteers helping to get ballot petitions signed and that the effort is going better than expected. Information about the ballot access effort is available on his campaign website.
“What my purpose is, over the next 12 months of this campaign – and the eight years when I’m in the White House – is to end the fighting with each other, between Republicans and Democrats. And then, lead everybody over the wall to take back our country,” said Kennedy.