New Polling Shows How Independent Voters Could Shift The 2024 Election

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Mary Lou Masters Contributor
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Independent voters are positioned to decide the outcome of the 2024 election, with a majority of them having an unfavorable view of both major political parties and many citing a desire for a “viable, third-party alternative,” according to a new poll obtained by the Daily Caller News Foundation.

An overwhelming majority of independent voters said they prefer a politician who can work with those across party lines at 72%, and 62% want a third-party candidate not aligned with either major party, according to a late October Bulfinch Group/Independent Center survey. For a hypothetical 2024 general election matchup, a “viable third-party candidate” received 35% of the share among independents, compared to former President Donald Trump’s 31% and President Joe Biden’s 24%, with 10% remaining undecided.

“This independent is kind of growing because of that Millennial, Gen Z voter — they’re not moving to the parties. So while people look at this and they go, ‘well, yeah, but people like to say [they are] independent,’ well, they like to say it today a lot more than they used to,” Bulfinch Group CEO Brett Loyd told reporters Monday. “And if I’m basing the next President of the United States on who’s gonna win the independents, I’m gonna start probably paying attention to these folks.”

In 2020 and 2016, the candidate who won the presidential election garnered the larger share of independent voters’ support, according to the survey. Biden secured 54% of independents compared to Trump’s 41% in 2020, and the former president won 46% against Hillary Clinton’s 42% in 2016. (RELATED: Minority Support For Biden Plummets Ahead Of 2024)

The survey also found that only 19% of independent voters want Biden to run for reelection, and 30% want Trump to run for another term, while 61% want a “viable third-party candidate” to run in 2024. Independent voters also had unfavorable views of both Biden and Trump at 59% to 62%, respectively.

“The next president of the United States is probably going to be the candidate that wins a plurality or majority of independents,” said Loyd. “I want to note that neither Trump nor Biden is leading a nameless independent among independents. So that’s a pretty good toss-up.”

Among the independent voters, “jobs and the economy,” “government leadership,” “immigration” and “taxes and government spending” are the most important issues ahead of 2024, according to the survey.

US President Donald Trump (L) and Democratic Presidential candidate and former US Vice President Joe Biden arrive on stage during the first presidential debate at Case Western Reserve University and Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio, on September 29, 2020. (Photo by Jim WATSON / AFP) (Photo by JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images)

US President Donald Trump (L) and Democratic Presidential candidate and former US Vice President Joe Biden arrive on stage during the first presidential debate at Case Western Reserve University and Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio, on September 29, 2020. (JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images)

The survey also found that Biden’s approval rating among independent voters is only 36%, with 61% of them disapproving. A massive 80% of independent voters disapproved of Congress’ job compared to only 13% who approved.

Loyd is also seeing a trend among minority and younger voters leaving Biden for Trump, but cautioned that it might not be predictive of next year’s outcome.

A New York Times survey released Sunday, conducted among voters in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, found that the more diverse a state was, the worse Biden polled; the same poll found that support for Trump among black voters jumped by 22 points, and Biden was only leading the former president in the single digits with Hispanic voters.

A mid-October Emerson College poll indicated that Trump is leading Biden by 2 points among voters aged 18 to 29 nationwide, as well as by 11 points among 30 to-39-year-olds.

“There’s been an uptick in younger voters that are voting for Trump, maybe because it’s like an anarchist, mess with the system, protest vote almost,” Loyd told the DCNF.

Conversely, Loyd added that younger Democrats might be leaving Biden’s camp due to disagreement on a variety of issues, like foreign policy and crime. Once election day nears, and the party nominees are chosen, Biden could “reclaim the younger voters,” Loyd told the DCNF.

There could be numerous third-party candidates on the ballot in 2024, such as Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Cornel West, a No Labels candidate, a Libertarian Party candidate and a Green Party candidate. Some polling suggests this could help Biden in 2024, while others indicate it would help Trump.

“I think [someone] like Kennedy is really more right now polling in the middle and equally hurting Trump and Biden. I don’t disagree that if he can get on the ballot everywhere that he might end up getting 18 to 20%,” Loyd told the DCNF.

The Bulfinch Group/Independent Center poll surveyed 800 self-identified independent voters nationwide — 200 independent leaning Democrats, 400 no-lean independents and 200 independent leaning Republicans — from Oct. 20 to Oct. 23 with a margin of error of plus or minus 3.46%.

Neither Trump nor Biden immediately responded to the DCNF’s requests for comment.

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