If Vice President Joe Biden would enter the presidential race, he would be most the popular candidate in the running from both the Democratic and Republican parties. A new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll released on Monday, Sept. 28, 2015 shows that the American public has the most positive view of Biden as opposed to any of the candidates. Biden is considered the only electable alternative to Hillary Clinton for the Democratic Party. Biden would also fare better than Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton against the top Republican candidates.
According to the most recent Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll, Biden comes in third place with 17 percent support, while Clinton remains in first with 42 percent and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders with 35 percent. Biden takes the most support away from Clinton if he runs. When the Vice President is taken out of the equation Clinton’s support swells to 53 percent to Sanders 38 percent, a 15-point lead.
American voters also have the most positive impression of Biden, with 40 percent feeling that way while only 28 percent have a negative view of him. Biden had a 12-point net favorable rating higher than his Democratic opponents; Sanders had +10, Clinton a -8 net favorable rating. On the Republican side, former Neurosurgeon Ben Caron had a +8, former HP CEO Carly Fiorina a +7, but GOP frontrunner Donald Trump had a -33 net favorable rating.
Biden is the most electable, winning match-ups against most the Republican’s front running candidates in the polls more than even Clinton. Biden would win match-ups against Jeb Bush, Ben Carson, Carly Fiorina and Donald Trump and by good-sized margins of 6 percent or more. Biden bested GOP frontrunner Donald Trump by 19 points, 56 percent to 35 percent. Biden beat former Florida Governor Jeb Bush by eight points, 48 to 40 percent, and Carson by the same margin, 49 to 41 percent. Biden lowest besting is over Fiorina by 6 points, with 47 to 41 percent.
Clinton however, only decisively beats Trump, the rest are virtual ties, where Clinton is either ahead or behind by one point. Clinton beats Trump by 10 points, 49 to 39 percent. Meanwhile Clinton ties with the rest, 45 to 44 percent with Fiorina leading, 46 to 45 percent with Carson leading, but Clinton led Bush 45 to 44 percent.
There is an overlap of Biden and Clinton supporters. Clinton’s poll numbers are down because of her ongoing email scandal and investigations revolving her usage of a private email server during her tenure as Secretary of State. New developments about the emails are being discovered almost daily, with more hidden emails discovered, the server being used earlier than Clinton testified, erased emails being retrieved off the server, and top secret and classified information being sent over an unsecure server. The scandal has also extended to Clinton’s close aides.
The ongoing email scandal has greatly affected voter’s perception of Clinton, her once certain nomination now seems in Jeopardy. Voters question her honesty and trustworthiness and most associate her with the word liar. Clinton’s poll numbers are falling below 50 percent nationally; she is now led by Sanders in the early primary states of Iowa and New Hampshire. Still Sanders’ socialist past makes the Democratic Party leery that he could win the election. Part of Biden’s appeal is that he has not yet decided or declared his candidacy, and neither has he faced the barrage of attacks that comes from being officially in the race.
Historian and professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University Julian Zelizer believes Biden should not run, arguing that in his CNN article, “Why Joe Biden should not run,” published Sept. 27, 2015. Zelizer believes because Biden and Clinton share the same support and policy views, he should not run because he would divide the party, and the primary campaign would descend into personal attacks, and in the end affect the party’s ability to retain control of the White House.
Zelizer also believes a Biden run would be a detriment to his legacy, writing, “Every potential candidate looks like a white knight before being exposed to the glare of the campaign.” Republican pollster Bill McInturff who conducted the survey with Democratic pollster Peter Hart concurs, “History has shown that the public has a much harsher filter when people become candidates.”
The popular Biden would be scrutinized according to Zelizer for his pre-Vice Presidential record. Among those issues that would be highlighted ; his two failed bid in 1988 and 2008, his voting in favor of invading Iraq in 2003 while a Senator. Even as far back as 1989 when he was the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee and presided over the Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings allowing attacks on Anita Hill who accused Thomas of Sexual harassment would hurt him. Instead, Zelizer believes Biden would be a better force for the Democrats as uniter rather divider campaigning for Clinton despite supporters urging him to run.