Joe Biden joined union bigwigs this weekend at Labor Day events, trying to show how connected he is to the “working Americans” that make up the very fabric of our proud nation. Armed with his trademark aviator sunglasses, Joe spoke about the “glory days” when men were men, women were women, and REO Speedwagon was still making gold records.
The schtick, though, seems to be working. As Bernie Sanders struggles to fire up anyone who understands basic economics, and Hillary Clinton struggles to fire up, frankly, anyone, Joe Biden, who isn’t even officially in the race, has been surging to the tops of polls, making his first appearance this week as the national Democratic challenger to the Clinton throne.
Joe Biden is up and Hillary Clinton is down in a new Monmouth University national poll of Democrats and Democratic-leaning voters.
Support for the vice president is building as speculation grows about his potential entry into the 2016 presidential race, with 22 percent saying they’d back him. That’s ahead of Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who was picked by 20 percent. The difference is within the poll’s plus or minus 5.3 percentage point margin of error.
Clinton, who continues to confront questions about her use of a private e-mail server while secretary of state in the Obama administration, has the support of 42 percent, down from 52 percent a month ago. Biden’s number is 10 percentage points higher than a month ago, while Sanders has seen a 4-point increase during that time.
This isn’t as big of a deal for Joe as it is for Hillary Clinton, who seems to have lost the most – ten percentage points – since the previous poll. She still has her hardcore supporters, but it’s her middling frenemies that are defecting to Joe. Bernie’s target audience is single-mindedly devoted, a problem that dogs him since he can only move down, but seems unlikely to ebb and flow as time wears on and more moderate candidates surge into the race. Clinton, on the other hand, bleeds approval the same way her email server bled information about North Korean satellite targets.
This news is best for Obama, because it means that running on his legacy isn’t an automatic dealbreaker for most Democrats. It’s just that Hillary won’t be the one to maintain the Obama legacy.