NBC News poll: One in 4 voters could change their minds on presidential race

The race between President Joe Biden and Donald Trump has been incredibly stable, but a quarter of all voters are still open to changing their minds on the candidate they plan to support, according to newly released results from the latest national NBC News poll

With more than six months until Election Day, 26% of registered voters say there is a chance they could vote for a different presidential candidate come November, while 66% of those surveyed say they have made up their minds. 

Almost the same share of voters currently backing Biden (81%) or Trump (78%) also say they do not plan to change their vote. But many voters who support third-party candidates right now are open to picking a different contender. 

That includes 61% of voters who say they support independent candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. (Kennedy garnered support from 13% of those surveyed in a hypothetical matchup with Biden, Trump, Green Party candidate Jill Stein and independent candidate Cornel West.) 

“It’s not like he’s capturing, really, hearts and minds,” Democratic pollster Jeff Horwitt of Hart Research Associates said of Kennedy. Horwitt conducted the survey with Republican pollster Bill McInturff of Public Opinion Strategies. 

“It’s the opposite of that,” Horwitt said. “He’s capturing the dissatisfaction that these voters have toward the other two options.” 

The share of voters who could change their minds is consistent with recent election cycles at similar points in the year. 

In March 2020, for example, 32% of likely voters said in a Grinnell College national poll conducted by J. Ann Selzer that they could still be persuaded to support a different candidate.

But it is still notable that a quarter of voters said they could change their minds, since both Trump and Biden are already extremely well known. Just 10% had neutral feelings about Biden and 9% about Trump, and just a few of the 1,000 registered voters surveyed said they did not know the candidates’ names or were not sure how they felt about them. 

This year, voters who say they are open to changing their minds tend to be younger, particularly younger women, independents and voters who have negative feelings about both Trump and Biden.  

About 4 in 10 voters ages 18 to 34 say they could change their vote, along with 37% of women ages 18-49. These voters are also slightly more likely to be people of color, with 32% of Hispanic voters saying they could change their minds, followed by 29% of Black voters and 25% of white voters. 

The group of voters who say they could change their minds include a higher share of independents (37%) compared to Republicans (25%) and Democrats (38%). And the group also includes 39% of voters who say they voted in the GOP presidential primary for someone other than Trump, and 60% of voters who say they “somewhat disapprove” of Biden’s job as president.  

The NBC News poll of 1,000 registered voters nationwide — 891 contacted via cellphone — was conducted April 12-16 and has an overall margin of error of plus-minus 3.1 percentage points. 

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