Daily Archives: May 3, 2024

Joe Biden, “Spoiler”

By Jim Ellis — Friday, May 3, 2024


President Joe Biden / Photo by Gage Skidmore

Joe Biden: Presidential Election Spoiler? — The Robert F. Kennedy Jr. (I) campaign not only refutes the analysis that it is principally a presidential race spoiler but goes a wild step further to claim that President Joe Biden is the candidate who should exit the campaign.

Obviously, to arrive at such a bizarre conclusion means the Kennedy strategists’ logic is questionable to say the least. The supposition is based upon a Zogby Strategies poll (dates not released; 26,408 US respondents; online; claiming a 0.6 percent error factor). Zogby generally has not been particularly well regarded in the polling industry. According to the most recent FiveThirtyEight pollster ranking chart (February 2024), the parent Zogby Analytics firm ranks 226th on the aggregate list and is awarded only one of three possible stars.

The first scenario Zogby produced for purposes of demonstrating Biden weakness was a Biden-Trump head-to-head ballot test. Nationwide, counting all 51 voting entities, the poll results projected former President Donald Trump as defeating President Biden with an electoral vote spread of 294-244, or 24 more than needed to re-claim the presidency.

This configuration showed at least two states going Trump’s way that no other survey had projected in such a one-on-one pairing. Along with the critical swing states of Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, and Wisconsin, the Zogby conclusion yielded Trump victories in Maine and Virginia.

These results are obviously dubious. As mentioned, Maine and Virginia do not appear to be in play for Trump, at least in a flat Biden-Trump contest. Additionally, in the Great Lakes, it is mandatory that one of the three regional states of Michigan, Pennsylvania, or Wisconsin, land in the Trump column if he is to have any chance of cobbling together a national victory coalition. Typically, polling has shown Wisconsin to be Trump’s weakest state of the three, but the Zogby result shows the Badger State as the only one favoring the former president.

When the pollsters added Kennedy’s name to the survey questionnaire, Maine and Virginia reverted to Biden, but the end result was still a 278-260 Trump victory.

Kennedy’s Zogby poll then tested the completely unrealistic scenario of a Biden-Kennedy pairing. There was no explanation as to why they believe Trump would drop out, but the prevailing point for devising such a scenario was to illustrate Biden weakness.

In this configuration, Kennedy would defeat Biden with a whopping electoral vote count of 367-171. Under this unrealistic scenario, Biden would carry only 11 states (California, Connecticut, Delaware, Illiniois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Maine, Michigan, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Washington, and Vermont) along with the District of Columbia. Note: the configuration of these particular states contains only 170 electoral votes. There is no illustration that the 2nd District of Nebraska votes for Biden, but it is possible that the district was contained in the count but not shown on the map.

The final tested polling scenario is a head-to-head pairing with Trump and Kennedy. In this configuration, the pollsters predict a very close race, with Kennedy upsetting former President Trump by the smallest of margins, 270-268. Under this outcome, Trump loses Georgia but wins Arizona, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. The remainder of the map appears similar to what is projected for the traditional Biden-Trump election.

The major flaws in these scenarios, outside of the virtually impossible scenario of Kennedy pairing individually with either Biden or Trump with no explanation as to why there would not be a Democratic and Republican nominee under all circumstances, involves the states of Maine, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wisconsin.

There is one poll that found Trump winning Maine, but only with a significant vote for an unnamed “other” candidate. There is no published research data that finds any result where Biden fails to carry Virginia.

In the Great Lakes, again a region in which Trump must claim at least one state to have any chance at winning the presidency, aggregate polling generally finds Michigan to be Trump’s best state of the three targets and Wisconsin the weakest. In the Kennedy polling scenarios, Michigan is the only state that Trump doesn’t win, and Wisconsin appears as his strongest.

The purpose for the Kennedy campaign releasing this information with a video explanation is to simply draw attention to their candidate through media discussion and wild speculation that Biden is the race’s actual “spoiler,” while not bringing forth realistic statistical data.

The most credible fact is that Kennedy looks to draw support in the mid-teen range with the other minor party candidates accumulating enough combined vote to possibly see as much as 20 percent of the cast ballots going to someone other than the Republican or Democratic nominee. There is no realistic scenario that yields a Kennedy win, and none factoring a race without either Biden or Trump.