American rapper and fashion designer Kanye West took to Twitter on American Independence Day to announce that he will be running for President of the United States in November. He tweeted: “We must now realize the promise of America by trusting God, unifying our vision and building our future. I am running for president of the United States.” His wife, Kim Kardashian West, as well as CEO of Tesla Elon Musk have both appeared to endorse his candidacy.
During our latest voting intention poll, we at Redfield & Wilton Strategies took the opportunity to assess the impact of Kanye West’s announcement on US voters. In addition to our usual voting intention question, we asked an additional question to our respondents, stating that Kanye West had announced his intention to run and that it remained unclear if he would indeed be on the ballot, but asking if he did end up on the ballot in their state, however, how would they vote. Altogether, 2% of respondents said they would vote for Kanye West under this scenario.
Most importantly, we found that a majority (56%) of respondents believe that Kanye West is not serious about running for President. For context, this occasion is not the first time Kanye West has communicated about his White House ambitions. Back in 2015 already, he had claimed that he would be running for president in 2020, but then he pushed the date to 2024.
Moreover, as the election is just four months away, Kanye West’s candidacy will inevitably be constrained by the electoral timeline: the deadline to add independent candidates on ballots, for instance, has passed in many states such as New Mexico or North Carolina. Kanye West’s name is also nowhere to be seen on the register of the Federal Election Commission for the election.
Second, not only are US voters not taking his candidacy seriously but a majority (55%) disapprove of his plan to run for President. Only 18% of respondents approve.
Those who intend on voting for Democratic candidate Joe Biden are overall more likely to be opposed to West’s candidacy with a large majority (70%) of them expressing their disapproval against only 45% of those who intend on voting for incumbent President Donald Trump.
However, for likely Trump voters, Kanye West’s candidacy probably comes as a surprise: following his visit to Donald Trump while wearing a “Make America Great Again” cap back in 2018, many thought he would naturally align himself with the President for the 2020 run. Yet, in the wake of the Black Lives Matter protests, many have read Kanye’s announcement as a reflection of the disappointment induced by President Trump’s reaction to the civil unrest. As such, his pro-Republican, anti-abortion and pro-religion platform could successfully capture disappointed Black Republicans.
At the same time, it could strip Joe Biden of Black voters. Indeed, West has criticised the former Vice President for taking Black votes for granted, especially following his controversial comment “if you have a problem figuring out whether you’re for me or Trump then you ain’t black,” for which he has since apologised for. In a recent interview, Kanye responded to Biden’s comment by saying: “To say that the Black vote is Democratic is a form of racism and white supremacy.”
Nevertheless, an overwhelming majority (70%) of respondents said they are unlikely or very unlikely to even considering voting for Kanye West. At the same time, however, 18% of likely Trump voters said they’d be likely to consider voting for West, whereas 11% of likely Biden voters said they would be likely to consider it, too.
Altogether, it appears that the American public does not yet take Kanye West’s candidacy seriously. However, if it becomes more apparent that West is serious about his intention to become President, then he is likely to garner more than the 2% he received in our latest national poll.