Latest polls say third-party candidates could cause problems for Biden

President Joe Biden has slightly bolstered his position in the United States presidential election, but polls show that third-party candidates should not be underestimated in their impact on the race, especially the Democrat bid.

Mr Biden is closing in on Donald Trump’s lead in the polls among registered voters since late February, with only one point in it, with Mr Trump now leading Mr Biden 46 per cent to 45 per cent as of Saturday, according to a New York Times/Siena poll.

However, independent candidates like Robert F Kennedy, philosophy academic Cornel West and physician Jill Stein are garnering slight attention from voters, and while they may not be scoring as high as the top two candidates, they still could potentially pose danger by pulling away support, especially for Mr Biden.

Robert F Kennedy Jr is running as an indepedent candidate in the presidential election (AP)
Robert F Kennedy Jr is running as an indepedent candidate in the presidential election (AP)

If no other candidates were to appear on the ballot other than the two leading candidates, Mr Biden was the more preferable among voters at 43 per cent, and Mr Trump at 40 per cent, according to a separate poll carried out by I&I/TIPP with 1,265 registered voters.

18 per cent of the voters did not choose either of the men, with nine per cent responding “other” and nine per cent saying they were “not sure”.

What’s interesting, however, is that when they did throw in the three other prominent third-party challengers into the mix, Mr Biden took the biggest blow and fell directly beside Mr Trump at an even 38 per cent each.

Mr Kennedy Jr took 11 per cent in the poll, Mr West at two per cent, and Ms Stein at one per cent; “other” falls to two per cent while “not sure” remains at nine.

I&I/Tipp say that with Mr Kennedy in the race, Mr Biden loses five percentage points of the vote, while Mr Trump only drops two, according to their poll.

Mr Kennedy Jr, a former environmental lawyer and the son of the late New York senator Robert F Kennedy Sr, known for his anti-vaccine activism, changed to an independent candidate after deciding to no longer run as a Democrat.

The independent candidate seemingly appears to be one of the more prominent independent candidates in the race, even Mr Trump has appeared to be prompted to push voters to choose Mr Kennedy Jr.

Donald Trump still leads in Times/Siena poll by one point (Getty)
Donald Trump still leads in Times/Siena poll by one point (Getty)

While Mr Kennedy has denied that he is a ‘spoiler’ candidate, Mr Trump took the opportunity in a bizarre video on Truth Social to tell voters that Mr Kennedy Jr was “a better man” than his Democratic challenger, Mr Biden.

“If I were a Democrat, I’d vote for RFK Jr every single time over Biden, because he’s frankly more in line with Democrats,” the former president claimed.

However, despite his family’s close historical ties to the Democratic party and current polls showing he’s a risk to Mr Biden’s standing in the percentages, ratings show that more Republicans than Democrats have a favourable opinion of Mr Kennedy Jr, according to the Associated Press in October.

Even Mr Kennedy said it himself, telling NBC News in February that “I’m probably drawing more from President Trump,” but he hopes to “draw equal numbers from both of them.”

Aside from third-party candidates causing potential changes to the race, other mitigating factors could have possible impacts on voters’ opinions of the two leading candidates, as the New York Times poll shows.

There are more voters who believe that the years in which Mr Trump was president were mostly good for America, over voters who say the same about Mr Biden’s presidency, with 42 per cent saying the Trump administration years were mostly good, versus 25 per cent towards Mr Biden’s years.

Old age is still a contending issue, more so with the 81-year-old current president, where 48 per cent of voters strongly agree he is too old to be an effective president, with only 21 per cent saying the same of 77-year-old Mr Trump.

Yet a new factor in this election race, Mr Trump’s indictments and court cases, also cropped up in the poll, which shows that over half of the respondents – 54 per cent – think Mr Trump has committed serious federal crimes.