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Good Luck, Joe! 13 Charts Highlight The Uphill Task Of Attracting RFK Jr. Voters

Can President Biden overcome RFK supporters’ extreme unhappiness?

Photo by Josh Edelson/AFP via Getty Images

Call him a kingmaker. Or call him a spoiler. RFK Jr. is a formidable force to be reckoned with in the 2024 election. As we recently demonstrated, Biden lost more to him than Trump.

Here is a sample of videos that reveal the underlying nervousness among Democrats, never-Trumpers, and commentators about RFK Jr.

Drucker: RFK Jr. Is A Spoiler And He Could Throw The Election To Trump - Video

Jim Messina: Al Gore and Hillary Lost Enough Third-Party Votes Where They Lost the Election - Video

‘A Longtime Heroin Addict’: The Lincoln Project Releases New Ad Targeting RFK Jr. - Video

We delve deeper to better understand RFK Jr.’s voters using our latest poll of 1,265 registered voters, which concluded in early April. The survey included 118 voters who planned to vote for him this November. (The margin of error for the sample is +/- 9.2 percentage points. While a larger sample for analysis is ideal, we maximize what we have.)

Direction Of Country

RFK Jr. voters are unhappy with the country's direction under Biden’s stewardship. Three-fourths say they are dissatisfied. About one-third (35%) are not at all satisfied, and another 40% are not very satisfied. Only a quarter (24%) are satisfied.

Further, three-fourths are dissatisfied with the country's direction in terms of morals and ethics. Over one-third (38%) are not at all satisfied, and a similar 37% are not very satisfied. Only one-fifth (20%) are satisfied.

Key Issues

The economy, immigration, and debt are the top issues for RFK Jr. voters.

Nearly half (47%) of them picked the economy as the country's most important issue, followed by immigration/border security at 41 percent and national debt/government spending at 23 percent as their top concerns.

Interestingly, Democratic priorities like climate change (15%) and abortion (11%) are not among the top issues for the RFK Jr. voters.

Biden’s Performance

Biden’s performance as President is the biggest hurdle to attracting these voters into his column.

The President’s job approval rating among RFK Jr. voters is only 21%. Nearly two-thirds (60%) disapprove of the job President Biden is doing, and another 19% are unsure.

The chart below summarizes how RFK Jr. voters see Biden handling important issues. Notice that fewer than 15% of them give the President favorable ratings on all issues.

Further, a majority gives him a D or F for seven issues and pegs him negatively in the 40% to 50% range on two issues. Two-thirds (69%) give him a D or F for President Biden's overall performance.

Most RFK Jr. voters (62%) disapprove of Biden’s handling of the economy. Nearly a third (30%) gave him an F grade, and another 32% gave him a D. Only 12% gave him an A or B.

On the issue of immigration, two-thirds give the President failing grades. 42% give him an F, and another 24% give him a D. Only 10% see him in a favorable light.

In January, the national debt crossed the $34 trillion mark, making the U.S. the most indebted country in the world. The debt increases by $1 trillion every 100 days.

RFK Jr. voters are concerned about the country's financial health. Only 14% give Biden good grades for handling spending and taxes. On the other hand, one-third (34%) give him an F, and another quarter (26%) give him a D.

Economic Anxiety

RFK Jr. voters are unhappy with Bidenomics and lack confidence in the country’s current economic situation. Forty-two percent think we are in a recession, and 71% feel the economy is not improving. Nine in ten (91%) are concerned about Bidenflation, and a similar share (86%) are worried about an economic slowdown.

We make the point using the RCM/TIPP Economic Optimism Index, our measure of economic confidence. The index has three key components, and the index and its components range from 0 to 100. A reading above 50.0 signals optimism, and below 50.0 indicates pessimism. 50 is neutral.

The chart below shows that RFK Jr. voters are pessimistic about the economic outlook (28.4), federal policies (36.1), and overall economic optimism (38.9), while they are slightly more optimistic about their personal financial outlook (52.1).

In addition, they experience high levels of financial stress.

The RCM/TIPP Financial-Related Stress Index is the only metric available to track the monthly financial stress experienced by Americans. This index ranges from 0 to 100, with higher numbers indicating greater stress. Readings surpassing 50 suggest heightened stress levels, while those below 50 indicate decreased stress, with 50 serving as the neutral point.

RFK Jr. voters posted 70.2 on the stress index, similar to Trump voters, who posted 72.3. Again, this points to their unease about their financial status.

Foreign Affairs

While Biden is not doing well on domestic issues, RFK Jr. voters also see him faltering in foreign affairs. The TIPP Standing In The World Index measures how Americans feel about the nation’s standing in the world, a proxy measure of the effectiveness of the President’s foreign policy.

The index ranges from 0 to 100, where scores above 50 are considered positive, scores below 50 are negative, and 50 represents a neutral standpoint.

Since August 2021, the overall index has been in the pessimistic zone. In April, RFK Jr. voters (28.5) and Trump voters (21.2) are pessimistic. Biden voters posted an optimistic reading of 58.9.

RFK Jr. voters are unhappy with Biden’s handling of the Russia-Ukraine war. Only a handful (11%) give him good grades. A majority (55%) give him failing grades.

They are also unhappy with his handling of the Israel-Hamas conflict.

Over one-half (56%) give Biden failing grades. Nearly one-third (30%) give him an F, and another quarter (26%) give him a D. Only 13% give him an A or B.

In summary, the message comes across loud and clear. RFK Jr. voters are extremely unhappy with Biden’s performance. They are also economically challenged and unhappy about the nation’s direction. It will be hard for President Biden to convince them to vote for him.

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