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Biden narrowly leads Trump; trails when third party candidates factored in: poll

President Biden is narrowly ahead of former President Trump in a new national poll, but the survey found Trump benefits from the inclusion of independent and third-party candidates.

A Quinnipiac University poll, released Wednesday, found Biden polling at 48 percent and Trump at 45 percent in a head-to-head matchup between the major party presumptive nominees. Those figures reflect a small change from February, when the same poll had Biden ahead of Trump 49-45 percent.

But the poll underscores the threat to Biden from third-party spoiler candidates. When the question is expanded to include independent candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and third-party candidates Jill Stein and Cornel West, Trump barely pulls ahead of Biden, 39-38. Kennedy Jr. polls at 13 percent, with Stein at 4 percent and West at 3 percent, per the survey.

“Way too close to call on the head-to-head and even closer when third party candidates are counted,” Quinnipiac University polling analyst Tim Malloy said. “The backstretch is months away and this is about as close as it can get.”

The poll surveyed 1,407 registered voters nationwide from March 21-25 and has a margin of error of 2.6 percentage points.

The results reflect the latest indicator that Trump and Biden are likely headed for a close general election race. A new poll of battleground states released Tuesday showed Biden closing the gap on Trump, and even pulling ahead in Wisconsin.

Meanwhile, Kennedy Jr. announced Tuesday that his running mate would be attorney and entrepreneur Nicole Shanahan, who could both provide a funding lift and aid with the candidate’s efforts to get on the ballot in states that require a running mate.

The move prompted some backlash from Democrats, who accused Kennedy of ceding to the GOP by continuing to run against Biden.

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