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The 2024 election cycle has taken a strange turn with the revelation that independent candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. once had a brain worm, and claimed he could still beat Donald Trump and Joe Biden in a debate even after recovering. Despite these oddities, Kennedy is polling better than any independent candidate since Ross Perot in 1996, and may even make it to the fall debates against the major party nominees.

In a recent CNN/SSRS poll, Kennedy received 16% support, a level not seen for third party candidates in previous elections. This support is significant, as candidates need to reach 15% in polls to be included in the fall presidential debates. While Kennedy’s polling may decline over time as seen with other third party candidates, the negative ratings of both Biden and Trump could work in his favor.

Kennedy’s net rating of -3 in a recent NBC News poll was actually the best among public figures included. However, 39% of voters either had a neutral or didn’t know opinion of Kennedy, making his net rating “soft”. Many voters are unaware of his controversial beliefs on vaccines and Covid-19, and his platform remains largely undefined, leaving him vulnerable to attacks from opponents.

National polling data suggests that Kennedy voters tend to prefer Trump over Biden, though not universally. This support for Trump among Kennedy voters could have significant implications in a close election. Both Biden and Trump are likely to ramp up attacks on Kennedy as the election approaches, making his viability as a candidate uncertain.

Despite his unconventional background and lack of clarity on his platform, Kennedy remains a viable option for many Americans in the upcoming election. Whether he can maintain his support and make it to the debates remains to be seen as the campaign progresses. Kennedy’s unique candidacy has added an intriguing element to the 2024 election cycle, and his impact on the race is yet to be fully understood.

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