As the elections quickly near, President Biden is facing a tough challenge among Latinos, not Trump, but Robert F. Kennedy Jr. AFP

NEW YORK CITY - With the November elections quickly approaching and the race for the White House in close contest, Latinos disenchanted with President Biden and presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump are more likely to consider voting for a third party ticket than a full left-to-right swing, a new poll from Voto Latino shows.

The study shows President Biden maintaining a 2020-like lead among Latino voters in swing states over former President Trump, but younger and female Hispanic voters are increasingly open to vote for third-party candidates, like Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., according to preliminary poll results reviewed by The Hill.

Voto Latino CEO Maria Teresa Kumar explained that some polls regarding Latinos' perspectives in battleground states show the incumbent having a substantial lead against the former president. However, she says, these studies are lacking one important factor— third parties.

"If you were to look at where Latinos are in battleground states, 59 percent of them are voting for Biden and 39 percent of them are voting for Trump," Kumar said.

"And our poll asked the thornier question, if we open up... including a third party, how does that poll? What we found was really alarming, in the sense that 14 percent of them would vote for a third party, with a majority of the votes being taken away from Biden. So instead of being at 59 percent, he dropped down to 49 percent. And Trump fell only 5 points."

A second aspect Kumar and Voto Latino are unsettled with is third-party openness among Latinas, with economic concerns being a main driver for this. She says that while a big focus this election cycle has been on a potential rightward move by young Latino men, a greater worry is the trend among women.

"So again, the headline saying that Latinos are trending Republican isn't very new— it didn't bear out in 2022, when we did that massive poll of 5,000 Latino voters in key battleground states, and it didn't bear out last week in the poll that we did of 2,000 Latino voters in five battleground states. What we're finding is more of a disillusionment because the economy is not changing fast enough for them to basically make ends meet, which is a real challenge," Kumar said.

Because of this, Kumar explains, more young Latinas are turning to third-parties, particularly popular ones like RFK Jr.'s We The People party.

Historically, most third-party candidates lose support over time, USA Today reports. When Election Day is still an abstraction, voters are more willing to register a protest vote. But when the outcome becomes more tangible, voters typically end up choosing between the two major party candidates.

Kennedy benefits from being vaguely seen as both a Democrat and an outsider, Kumar explains. The Kennedy brand is powerful in the Latino community, as it stands for social activism and economic progress. Because of this, knowing little about his actual policy positions, Latinos can imagine him as the progressive working-class champion they want Biden to be.

That edge though can be erased if the Biden campaign stops ignoring him and starts defining him, Kumar believes. Voto Latino wants to help do that.

According to Kumar, Voto Latino plans to raise and spend $44 million this cycle to reach Hispanics in their communities to make sure they vote.

"Our polling makes it clear that Latinos continue to be repelled by Trump. Yes, we will continue to remind our community just how catastrophic his return to power would be," Kumar says.

"At the same time, we'll be shifting our resources to ensure Latinos see Robert F. Kennedy Jr. for who he really is: no champion of social justice and no friend to working people."

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