Tue. Jul 23rd, 2024

Meet the voters who might ditch Biden and Trump for RFK Jr.: From the Politics Desk

By 37ci3 Jun27,2024

Welcome to the online version of From the policy deskevening bulletin that brings you the latest reporting and analysis from the campaign trail, the White House and Capitol Hill from the NBC News Politics team.

In today’s edition, national political reporter Ben Kamisar analyzes our latest focus group of a key bloc of Georgia voters. Plus, senior political analyst Chuck Todd examines who has the most to lose in Thursday’s debate.

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Why Are Fed-Up Georgia Voters Looking Beyond Biden and Trump?

By Ben Kamisar

This is not just a protest vote.

That’s something a group of Georgia voters considering third-party presidential candidates wanted to make clear at an event this week in partnership with the NBC News Deciders Focus Group. Busy, Syracuse University and Sago.

Seven in 10 2020 caucus voters who voted for Donald Trump or Joe Biden now plan to support independent Robert F. Kennedy Jr., two plan to support Prof. Cornel West, and one a Libertarian. Chase Oliver.

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But as Margaret Talev, one of our partners in this project, told me: We heard from interested voters before RFK Jr., but this group went further.

“We’ve been asking our focus group participants about RFK every month, and so far most see him as an alternative to Biden or Trump, or know Kennedy’s name but admit they don’t know much about his record or platform. Georgian voters looked different,” said Talev. “They said they learned the details of his positions, from vaccines to foreign policy, and had opportunities to listen to or see more of him.”

What these voters had to say about Biden or Trump was not very nice. Biden’s age seems to be a big sticking point with them, as is the concern (heard from both the left and the right) that he hasn’t managed as much as he says he should as a candidate.

And for Trump, it’s his personality, as well as his behavior around the 2020 election — his attack on the US Capitol and repeated false claims that he won, especially in Georgia.

But the group praised Kennedy not only for being an outsider, but also for his legal career, environmentalism and strong-arm rhetoric. And even among those who are not satisfied with it attitude to vaccinesthey still found reasons to support him.

“So many people are voting against the other, they’re voting for the lesser of two evils, and I just don’t want to be that person,” said Sherri D., 50, of Roswell, who supports Trump. In 2020, but now leaning toward Kennedy.

“I really want to research and learn and I want to vote for that person, in my conscience, even if they don’t have a chance, even if people think they don’t have a chance, I really want to win. he added.

Read more from our latest voter focus group →

Who has the most to lose in tomorrow’s debate?

By Chuck Todd

The hardest part of trying to gauge the potential impact of the first presidential debate is figuring out which candidate needs it the most. A month ago, the answer was clear: Biden. If his team hadn’t decided before the fall that something needed to be done to shake up this race, he wouldn’t have pushed for the debate earlier.

But one conviction on 34 counts later, and it’s not so clear now which candidate needs this discussion more. Why does this matter? The less important the debate is to the candidate at this point, the more risk-averse the candidate will be in the debate itself.

Based on my conversations with smart people on both sides of the aisle, both campaigns seem quietly confident about their summer stops and this debate. That was not the case with Biden’s world a month ago.

A small but noticeable shift toward Biden in various polls provided his campaign’s first evidence that Trump’s legal challenges may be affecting his vote share. Throw in recent positive data showing a decline in violent crime across the country, as well as this resilient economy, and you can see why team Biden has been optimistic about winning re-election for more than a year today.

But just as Biden has gotten stronger, so has Trump. Although he took a very small (and potentially significant) hit in the polls after his conviction, his massive fundraising over the last month has allowed him to level the spending game with Biden much earlier than the campaign had hoped.

Both camps would love nothing more than for the post-debate conversation to be about the other candidate. Team Trump would love nothing more than for Biden’s age to become the dominant conversation, and Team Biden would love nothing more than for Trump’s erratic behavior to be the focus of the post-debate spotlight.

Read more from Chuck →

🗞️ The best stories of the day

  • 😯 Oops: The Supreme Court has admitted that she accidentally posted a document on the internet about an unplanned abortion case. Acquired by Bloomberg Law before being removed from the site. Bloomberg reports that the court is preparing to allow emergency room doctors in Idaho to perform abortions, according to a copy of the ruling. More →
  • ⚖️ Judgment day: Meanwhile, the Supreme Court rejected claims that the Biden administration illegally forced social media companies to remove controversial content. More →
  • 🗳️ About last night: Rep. Jamaal Bowman DN.Y. became the first member of the progressive “caucus” of lawmakers of color to be defeated since the group formed after the 2018 election. Lauren Boebert , R-Colo., won the primary after switching districts. And three Trump-backed candidates lost GOP primaries in Colorado, South Carolina and Utah. More →
  • 🛑 Filibuster discharge: Three Republican state senators in South Carolina who overturned the abortion ban last year have now lost their primaries. More →
  • 🚨 In the test: Evan Gershkovich, a Wall Street Journal reporter detained in Russia on espionage charges, has been vehemently denied by the paper and the U.S. government as his trial begins more than a year after his arrest, the WSJ reports. More →
  • 📣 What to expect when arguing: Here’s what veteran debate consultants say Trump and Biden should do during Thursday’s demonstrations. More →
  • Stay up to date with the latest 2024 election news with our live blog →

That’s all for the Policy Desk for now. If you have feedback – like it or not – send us an email politicsnewsletter@nbcuni.com

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