As RFK Jr. gets boosted by the GOP, his popularity among Democrats plummets

As RFK Jr. gets boosted by the GOP, his popularity among Democrats plummets

Aaron Blake writes:

The right’s thinly veiled campaign to elevate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. for its own political purposes culminated Thursday with his invitation to testify at a congressional hearing. It was a remarkable scene: a Democratic presidential candidate, who just last week suggested that the coronavirus could have been a “deliberately targeted” bioweapon to spare Chinese and Ashkenazi Jewish people while attacking White and Black people disproportionately, and who has regularly espoused debunked vaccine claims, welcomed by Republicans to the House “weaponization” subcommittee to drive a pet message in front of a national audience.

The move was, of course, impossible to separate from conservative media’s own effort to play up Kennedy’s campaign. Fox News has devoted extensive attention to Kennedy on the air and its website, publishing more than 80 articles and videos about him since his campaign launch in April. This despite President Biden’s leading Kennedy by upward of 50 points in polling.

This attention has been predicated on Kennedy’s supposedly surprising strength in the primary. But as we argued back in April, Kennedy’s support appeared largely inflated by his famous last name.

And even as he was about to testify, there came evidence that the effort was fizzling.

Kennedy’s support in the Democratic primary is down slightly from those unexpected early polls, which pegged him around 20 percent. But more significant than that, Democratic voters have perhaps predictably turned on him as they actually learn about him.

Around the same time as those early polls, a YouGov survey showed Kennedy with the best image rating of more than a dozen political figures. And he was double-digits popular across the political spectrum.

That is far from the case now.

Quinnipiac University released a poll Wednesday showing Republicans continue to like Kennedy — by more than a 2-to-1 margin, in fact. But among Democrats, Kennedy’s image was more than 2-to-1 negative. While 21 percent had a favorable opinion, 47 percent had an unfavorable one. That’s 26 points “underwater,” up from 15 points underwater a month ago. [Continue reading…]

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