Democrats Not Exactly Eager For Joe Biden To Run For President

Based on a recent poll, it doesn't appear that Democrats are all that eager for Vice-President Biden to challenge Hillary Clinton.

Biden Sunglasses

A new Gallup poll indicates that Democratic voters aren’t very eager for a Joe Biden Presidential bid:

PRINCETON, N.J. — As Vice President Joe Biden reportedly deliberates a bid for president while he vacations in South Carolina, a new Gallup poll finds Democrats evenly split over whether he should enter the race. Forty-five percent of Democrats, including independents who lean Democratic, say they want him to run for president in 2016; 47% do not. By comparison, Democrats are less eager to see Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who has maintained she will not run despite grass-roots efforts to encourage her candidacy, jump in.

There are currently five major candidates for the Democratic nomination: Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Martin O’Malley, Jim Webb and Lincoln Chafee. Though Clinton dominates the race, both in national preference polls and in media coverage, some Democrats would like to see a more competitive race to help attract some of the media coverage that the Republican field of 17 is currently monopolizing.

There does not appear to be a large groundswell of support in the Democratic Party for Biden, or for that matter, Warren, to get into the 2016 presidential race to challenge Clinton. But Democrats and Democratic leaners do not widely oppose a Biden candidacy, either.

The Aug. 5-9 Gallup poll finds 19% of Democrats saying they would definitely support Biden if he runs for the 2016 presidential nomination. However, another 61% say they might consider it; 19% say they definitely would not. While Warren has effectively ruled out a run this cycle, if she changes her mind, she would have 15% of Democrats solidly behind her and another 56% willing to consider her.


The vice president has many personal and political factors to consider in deciding whether to pursue a third bid for president. Should Biden emerge as a viable nominee, it would likely be an expensive and bruising battle with Hillary Clinton. But, if Biden is looking for a clear signal from rank-and-file Democrats, this poll doesn’t provide one. While nearly half say he should run and most view him favorably, most also view Clinton favorably, and only 19% say they would definitely back him — similar to the percentage saying they would back Warren. Rather than seeking an alternative to Clinton, Democrats may simply believe other candidates, Biden included, deserve a chance — and like to keep their own options open.

These numbers aren’t terrible for Biden, of course, but they aren’t very good either if you’re looking at them from the perspective of someone trying to make a credible case for the Vice-President entering the race for the Democratic nomination. When you look at in connection with other polling that says that a majority of Americans, not just Democrats, are unsure that Biden would make a good President, the difficulties that the Vice-President would face in trying to mount a challenge to Hillary Clinton, many of which I detailed last week, become readily apparent. Added in to all of that is something that many observers have pointed out about Biden in the days since the first rumors about his thinking about a Presidential run were leaked to The New York Times. In both of his previous Presidential bids, Biden was far from a skilled campaigner. In 1988, of course, his campaign imploded largely because he had been using elements of speeches by Neil Kinnock, the former leader of Great Britain’s Labour Party, in a manner that made it appear that Biden was claiming Kinnock’s biography on his own. His 2008 run for the White House wasn’t much better, and largely ended after he finished a dismal fifth place, behind not just to top three finishers but even former UN Ambassador Bill Richardson. While Biden’s reputation has improved while he’s been Vice-President, there’s no reason to believe that he’s really any better of a national campaigner on his own than he used to be and he doesn’t really seem to have a base in the Democratic Party the way that Hillary Clinton and even Bernie Sanders do.

Vice-President Biden is currently vacationing in South Carolina with his family and, according to reports, its during this vacation that he will likely make the final decision about running for President. An announcement one way or the other is expected by the end of this month, both that could get pushed back by events in Washington such as the vote on the Iran nuclear deal, during which Biden will likely be needed to lobby Democratic Senators. I claim no special insight into what the Vice-President is thinking, but it seems to me that the arguments all suggest that he will pass on running this final time. There’s no doubt that he’s always wanted the job, of course. You don’t run for President twice if you don’t want the job. At the same time, though, Joe Biden doesn’t strike me as the kind of person who ventures off on a quixotic quest, and that’s exactly what he’d be doing if he got into the race for the White House at this point.

FILED UNDER: 2016 Election, US Politics, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Facebones says:

    Yet another attempt by the political media to drum up a horse race. Biden has not started fundraising. He has not hired any staff. He has no ground game in NH or IA. Judging by the polls, Democrats do not seem unhappy with Hillary Clinton. The only ones who seem to be dreading Hillary are the pundits who have to cover the campaign.

  2. DrDaveT says:

    What a tragic failure to capitalize on what would have been the best presidential campaign slogan of all time:

    “Biden. My time.”

  3. Moosebreath says:


    “The only ones who seem to be dreading Hillary are the pundits who have to cover the campaign.”

    This. They seem to be afraid that they may actually need to read and explain to the public the policy proposals of the candidates. They seem to prefer to spend all their time covering the horse race, as if it did not actually matter what the candidates will do if elected.

  4. grumpy realist says:

    @Moosebreath: I wonder how much of this is wanting a horserace (but in that case, why aren’t they covering Bernie more?) and how much of this is spillover from the NYTimes, which has since Day 1 treated the Clintons like the vulgar country cousins from Arkansas, Yee-Hawwww!

    (Maureen Dowd has been catty about Hillary from Day One. Meow. )

  5. gVOR08 says:

    @grumpy realist:

    why aren’t they covering Bernie more?

    ‘Cause Bernie’s a Socialist, donja know. Their poor little heads can’t wrap around that concept. Bernie seems to get coverage only for BLM protests. Bitching about that is something the supposedly liberal MSM can get behind.

  6. Facebones says:

    @grumpy realist:

    why aren’t they covering Bernie more?

    They’re covering him plenty, but only in terms of “Bernie closing fast on Hillary!” There’s not a lot of actually policy analysis.

    I mean, Hillary announced a plan to alleviate college debt yesterday, but the press seems more interested in whether or not Fox News was mean to Trump and whether or not Trump implied that Megyn Kelly had PMS.

  7. the Q says:

    Oh Joe will run all right. Just after the indictments against Hillary for perjury and obstruction of justice are announced.

    i can’t believe how many of my fellow libs out there have drunk the Hillary/Bill kool aid.

    She’s a Wall street hawk plutocrat. Her husband destroyed the middle class with two singular moves:

    Repealing Glass Steagall by not vetoing The Gramm bliley leach act of 2000 and deciding that derivatives would not come under federal regulation, not to mention the blow job in the Oval office which is utterly mind boggling and the failure to resign in shame. President Gore would have been easily elected in 2000 after serving the last 2 years of Clinton’s term. Instead we get the moron W for 8 years and incredible disaster for the country those years.

    Instead, in true baby boomer fashion, they blamed everybody but themselves – vast right wing conspiracy, its a “private matter” etc. and then drag he country through needless schit.

    And now this latest scandal with the server which isn’t going away.

    Obama has scarcely a blemish in his two admins. compared to the gangsters in Bush’s terms with all the resignations and scandal.

    The only big scandal of course will come courtesy of the Arkansas Mafia. I hope you libs out there are ready for Larry Summers and the DePodesta freaks and the Wall streeters and big industry reestablishing themselves in the HRC white house.

    Look, I will hold my nose and vote for that clown against the insanity of the GOP, but you boys who defend her are not thinking clearly.

  8. Gromitt Gunn says:

    @the Q: I’m impressed you managed to avoid referring to your “fellow” liberals [*cough* bull crap *cough*] as “you libtards.”

  9. the Q says:

    Libtards? No. Mislead by the plutocrat in sheeps clothing. Obviously most libs.

  10. Concern Trolls Getting Dumber says:

    It dismays me how my fellow Rethuglicans are always out to destroy the country, especially Bushitler and all his Reich-wing cronies. The only way to save the GOP is to elect Democrats next year. I hate Hillary and love Bushitler, but I will vote for her anyway for the good of my party and my nation. Go Hillary!

  11. Dave D says:

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I would vote for The Onions version of Joe Biden any day of the week.

    WASHINGTON—Calling it a “major-ass haul” that would provide “some much-needed scratch,” Vice President Joe Biden reportedly scored over 800 feet of copper wire from a foreclosed home in the D.C. suburbs, White House sources confirmed Thursday.

    Biden, who is admittedly “flat fucking broke” from throwing numerous “ragin’ keggers” over the last nine months, recently devised the plan to strip copper wiring around the Washington, D.C. area after hearing that there was a thriving black market for the ductile metal.

    “There’s tons of dough in copper wire if you’ve got the know-how,” the vice president was overheard telling a White House official, explaining that he learned the hard way that swiping manhole covers wasn’t worth the hassle. “As Lady Luck always says, moving copper ain’t easy. But if you play the metal game right, you’re looking at something like a two- to three-grand payday for a night’s worth of work.”

  12. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @the Q:

    Just curious, but which candidate, if any, passes your purity test?

  13. Tyrell says:

    Well, a lot of people would like to hear from more Democrats about different policy views and ideas. They are tired of being told by the news media that it doesn’t matter, that the only choice is Hillary, that is who they are going to vote for, get over it.
    I have been pleased with the big, excited crowds that Sanders has been getting. Sanders actually has a plan, explains his plan, instead of sitting back and playing it safe. Sander’s ideas about finally getting some help to the middle class and seniors has ignited the people.
    But Sanders has once again been attacked and pushed around shamelessly by a mob of misfits and show offs who need to go back to their disco hall or motorcycle bar where they came from. Real big – attacking someone who is 73 years old ! The other part of this is why is he not being protected by the Democrat party officials and the Secret Service. Hillary and the other candidates should speak out and condemn these attackers. O’Malley even apologized to them. Sanders should not give the microphone up to anyone under force. This makes the Democrats look week. Where is Jim Webb? I have not heard from him. That is why debates are needed, and the more candidates the better. The nomination should not be a coronation.

    “All lives matter !” Bite that !

  14. MarkedMan says:

    I like and admire Hillary, based on her actual achievements while US Senator representing NY and as the Bill Clinton administration lead on health care. Sec of state… She did OK. But I also like and admire Joe Biden based on his integrity, down to earth common sense and incredible foreign policy chops in both Republican and Democrat administrations. He has been sent out to handle tough situations for 25 years and has done a stellar job. Of course the Fox News crowd thinks Hillary is the antichrist, based on some kind of collective memory of things that never happened (which actually inoculates her against the two things that would normally keep her out of serious consideration: she’s an uber-wonk and personally kind of boring.). And they dismiss Biden because they are intellectually unable to differentiate between the real man and The Onion parody.

    So I would welcome him joining the race. I think in the end I would pull the lever for Hillary, and of course the top three, or even five, or even ten Republicans are jokes. So Biden or Clinton would be such an improvement that they don’t even enter into the picture.

  15. JWH says:

    I honestly think that Biden’s not going to jump in unless Hillary stumbles in a major way and the race suddenly becomes Martin O’Malley vs. Bernie Sanders.

  16. jewelbomb says:


    Democrat party officials

    If you’re going to play the concern-troll, you might at least learn the proper name of the party whose future you purport to care so much about.

  17. the Q says:


    The Purity test? Bernie for one. Biden for another. Webb for another. O’Malley.

    In short, libs here are like the wingnuts during the Dumbya Presidency – overlooking the obvious failure and stupidity of his term.

    Similarly, for 30 years the Clintons have a pretty good track record of corporate sellout and scandal.

    Christ, what more has to be uncovered before folks on here stop the defense of this couple?

    Just be honest and come out and say, “Look we know she’s a disgrace, but she’s a woman and has checked all the boxes, went to the right schools, played the Washington game…she deserves it.”

    I would have much more respect for your honesty and argument, since, based on everything we know, she would make a HORRIBLE President.

  18. DrDaveT says:

    @the Q:

    for 30 years the Clintons have a pretty good track record of corporate sellout and scandal.

    Setting aside for the moment the obvious fact that Hillary is not Bill, what’s your point? The country thrived under Bill, especially in contrast with his predecessor and successor in the White House. There comes a point where I don’t really care that he’s a personal sleaze if he’s good for the country.

  19. Matt says:

    @DrDaveT: My hometown and thousands of other small towns died because of Bill Clinton. Specifically that bullshit sellout of the American public called NAFTA.

    Now NAFTA is going to be used by a foreign corporation to force the taking of land from Americans to build a pipeline we really don’t need.