Polling for the 2024 Election is close. The former president Donald Trump is currently the most likely candidate for the GOP nomination, and depending on how you average the polls, Joe Biden is either up or down one or two points.
This is significant because, in the event of a landslide, only a highly well-liked third-party candidate might alter the results of the general election.
Instead, all it might take to change that result is for a small portion of voters to support a third-party candidate in a fictitious contest instead of either Biden or Trump.
In fact, the only election in the previous 50 years that I can think of where a third-party nominee likely cost one candidate the victory was 2000, when Democrat Al Gore lost Florida and the presidential election by a margin of 537 votes.
The surveys revealed that if Ralph Nader had not been a possibility, more of the Green Party nominee’s supporters would have chosen Al Gore rather than Republican George W. Bush.
Independent Voters And The 2024 Election
This year, it’s very obvious that such a group of independent voters already exists for the straightforward reason that both Biden and Trump have consistently received low approval ratings.
About 20% of voters, as I noted in a previous article, had a negative opinion of both Biden and Trump.
At least in part, the headlines and the worries Democrats have about a third-party candidacy reflect the unpopularity of Biden.
At a similar early stage of the 2020 cycle, concerns about a third-party bid did not exist at anything near the same intensity as they do now.
This highlights one of the key distinctions between this cycle and 2020: Biden is far less well-liked now than he was back then.
If nothing drastically changes, the president will need to win over a sizable section of the opposition in order to win re-election.