OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author’s opinion.
Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is polling surprisingly well for an independent presidential candidate — high enough that he’s beginning to worry the Biden campaign — but he may have just cost himself some support after a stunt he pulled during an American Airlines flight from Portland to Dallas earlier this month.
RFK Jr. was photographed walking down the aisle in his bare feet, which was a turn-off to some passengers.
The photo wound up online, naturally.
“DISGUSTING!! What sort of person walks BAREFOOT down a plane aisle — in first class, no less. Even worse, it was on his way to the toilet! RFK Jr is a really strange dude,” Democrat activist Jon Cooper posted on the X platform along with the photo.
DISGUSTING!! What sort of person walks BAREFOOT down a plane aisle — in first class, no less. Even worse, it was on his way to the toilet! 🤮
RFK Jr is a really strange dude. pic.twitter.com/tQXdYUtGfz
— Jon Cooper (@joncoopertweets) November 13, 2023
Justin Haskins of the conservative Heartland Institute think tank, noted on his podcast that debris from snacks and food items were littering the aisle as well.
“The floor is covered with food, and, like, disgusting food!” Haskins said on the podcast “Stopping Socialism TV with Justin and Donald.”
“He goes into the restroom sockless and shoeless,” Hasking added, according to TMZ. “Something I’ve literally never seen in my entire life … Absolutely disgusting, right?”
“And I’m thinking, ‘This guy is a presidential candidate!’” Hasking noted further, saying that was a disqualifier for him.
“This man needs to be removed from the race immediately,” he said.
— In The Tank Podcast (@InTheTankPod) November 12, 2023
In 2016, then-GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump did something Republicans hadn’t been able to do in several election cycles: break down the “blue wall” of battleground states to beat Democratic rival Hillary Clinton and capture the Oval Office.
In 2020, then-Democratic nominee Joe Biden rebuilt the blue wall with victories in states like Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania, though now those battlegrounds appear to be increasingly contested by Trump and RFK Jr.
According to a recent Quinnipiac University poll cited by CNN, RFK Jr. “hit 22% among registered voters.”
CNN political analyst Harry Enten noted that Kennedy “is polling higher than any independent or third-party candidate in a generation. He, along with other non-major-party candidates, has a real chance to affect the outcome of the 2024 election.”
“The last independent presidential candidate to earn over 20% support in a poll within a year of the election was Ross Perot in 1992. He ended up getting 19% of the popular vote,” he further noted, adding:
We don’t know where Kennedy will end up, obviously; however, his numbers in the swing states should be turning heads. According to New York Times/Siena College surveys, Kennedy was in the high teens to upward of 25% in the six closest states that Biden won in 2020 over Trump: Georgia, Arizona, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Nevada, and Michigan.
The Times/Siena polls were notable, of course, because they sent some Democrats into a tizzy and some Republicans into euphoria earlier this week. Trump came in with a higher share of the vote than Biden in five of these states among registered voters and in four of them among likely voters.
Enten also noted that when RFK Jr. became an option among likely voters, Trump’s lead over Biden in swing states was cut to just two—Georgia and Nevada—while his 5-point leads in Arizona and Pennsylvania vanished into ties. Meanwhile, Biden held an edge in Pennsylvania, but it was well within the margin of error. He was tied with Trump in Michigan.
“Put another way, a clear Trump polling lead became a jumbled mess with no clear favorite to win in the Electoral College thanks to Kennedy. Both Biden (34%) and Trump (36%) were south of 40% in aggregate across the six states,” Enten pointed out.
He went on to explain: “The fact that an independent candidate could take such a large chunk of the vote shouldn’t be surprising. Both Biden’s and Trump’s unfavorability ratings were in the high 50s in the Times/Siena poll (and others as well). They’re tied with Democrat Hillary Clinton and Trump in 2016 as the two least liked front-runners for their party’s nomination in polling history.”