The PJ Tatler

Biden Ascending?

A new Qunnipiac Swing State poll shows Vice President Joe Biden beating the GOP frontrunner Donald Trump in a head to head race. Biden has not yet decided if he will throw his hat in the ring. Is this the encouragement he needs?

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are clear winners in the Democratic and Republican primaries in Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania, but Vice President Joseph Biden runs as well as or better than Clinton against top Republicans in general election matchups in these key swing states, according to a Quinnipiac University Swing State Poll released today.

On the flip side, Clinton and Trump have the worst images of any of the leading candidates:

While they lead in the race for the nomination, Clinton and Trump have the worst overall favorability ratings among all voters of any of the leading candidates, and the lowest scores for being honest and trustworthy.

Said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University poll:

Vice President Joseph Biden, who is spending his time in seclusion, contemplating whether to take on Secretary Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primaries for president, has some new information to consider.

In head-to-head matchups against the three leading contenders for the Republican nomination, he runs as well or slightly better than she does.

Joe Biden

Biden could siphon off a chunk of the lady vote from Hillary.

And the news is not good for Hillary:

Hillary Clinton’s poll numbers are like a leaky faucet: drip … drip … drip. She is now getting less than half the vote in all three states’ Democratic primaries … Perhaps most telling is how poorly she scores when all voters in these three key states are asked about her empathy, honesty and temperament. In Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania she averages a negative 37 to 55 percent favorability. Donald Trump is in the same leaky boat, averaging a negative 34 to 53 percent favorability.

It’s very hard, if not impossible, to win the presidency when people do not like you. In the primaries, voters are more interested in substance like past job performance, but in general elections voters chose candidates that they “like.”

Can Trump and Clinton turn around their negative images? I’m skeptical. Both have very high name ID, so they can’t simply introduce themselves to more voters to win them over. They have to change rather than help form opinions, and that’s a steeper hill to climb.

Strategically, Biden should get in the race. Hillary is tanking and Sanders is a radical who won’t move far beyond the progressive cohort, so the veep could sweep in an as the “sensible” one, scooping up the voters who are frightened of Sanders and suspicious of Hillary. (I laughed as I typed that.)

The latest CNN/ORD poll of registered voters show Biden’s favorability is about even, which is better than Hillary, who is upside-down. Sanders has the best ratio (35% F/27%U), but 28% haven’t heard of him.