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Biden and the Kennedy Conundrum in California – California Globe

Recent polling in California shows that third-party candidates have shown something of an improvement in California. Well, not in the Assembly, Senate, House of Representatives, Senator, or other races that adhere to California’s primary jungle law. But in the federal presidential election.

In addition to President Joe Biden (D) and former President Donald Trump (R), there are two major independent candidates, both strangely enough from California: Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Cornell West. The main third parties are completed by Chase Oliver, who was recently elected as the Libertarian candidate, and Jill Stein, who is running for president for the third time as part of the Green Party.

Polls have shown what is largely expected in California. Namely, Biden with a commanding lead, Trump within a second, Kennedy above 5%, and the others trailing by a percentage point or two. But there have been strange fluctuations in recent months. An Emerson College poll in February found Biden in California at 51%, Trump at 32%, Kennedy at 6%, West at 2% and Stein at 1%. However, a recent Independent Center poll showed something unusual: Kennedy doubled support. There, Biden is only at 48%, with Trump at 28%, Kennedy at 12% and West and Stein both at 2%. Oliver, the Libertarian candidate, was not included because his party had yet to choose a candidate at the time of the election. Overall polls show Biden at just 49.5% in California at the end of May.

National polls show how unusual California’s fluctuation has been. The overall average of 538 currently has Trump at 41.3% support, despite numerous lawsuits against him, with Biden at 39.9%. Kennedy is at 9.8%, right below what Kennedy needs to get into the debates, despite more than 70% of the country wanting him in the debates. The Kennedy factor is crucial, especially now that Trump is just ahead in the swing states of Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, the three states that broke the blue wall in 2016.

More than normal third-party support isn’t exactly new for California. In 1992, independent Ross Perot won 20.6% of the vote in California, while receiving only 18.9% nationally. Things remained shaky in the polarizing 2016 election, with Libertarian Gary Johnson receiving 3.37% of the vote and Green Jill Stein receiving 1.96% of the vote in California, despite polling just 3.28% nationally and 1 .07% achieved. Things calmed down in 2020, as California’s top third-party results closely mirrored national trends. But early 2024 polls for California show something of an upswing for third-party candidates, again above the national average.

Biden hovers at just 50% in California

Does this mean Joe Biden will lose California? No, unless something big happens. But will this mean Biden will have a lower percentage than his 63.5% in 2020 in California, or Clinton’s 61.7% in 2016 in the Golden State? That’s much more likely. While Libertarians are generally drawing more Republicans from their ranks, the Green Party has been siphoning off more and more Democrats. Kennedy has now received votes from both parties, with various media saying which political preference appeals to him most. What is certain is that Biden could get the lowest percentage of Democratic votes in California since at least the 2024 election, the last time California Democrats fell below 60%. John Kerry received only about 54% of the vote in the Golden State that year.

“Biden appears to be heading toward that possibility,” Angie Brown, a presidential election analyst in Washington, D.C., told the Globe. “Biden will win California. That’s not really up for debate. But how low his overall percentage will be will be interesting. Biden is very unpopular right now, and Trump has lawsuits going on right now. People are looking for another option, just like in 1992. And here we have Kennedy.

“In California, I’m not sure Biden will go below 55%, but below 60% is very likely. Especially if he makes more blunders on an international scale and Kennedy remains strong. West and Stein and Oliver will probably get about 3% combined in California. But Kennedy. He’s the wild card. He can ensure that Biden has the lowest percentage in California for a Democratic candidate in twenty years. For Democrats in California, it will be a win, lose or draw challenge.”

More California presidential elections will take place in June.

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