Joe Biden is weeks away, at least, from deciding if he will mount a third campaign for the White House, but a new national poll shows the 72-year-old vice president would garner more support than Hillary Clinton in next year’s general election.
Quinnipiac University conducted the poll via live telephone interviews between Aug. 20-25 and surveyed 1,563 registered voters, including 647 Democrats and 666 Republicans. The poll, released today, has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.5 percentage points.
Matched up against current Republican frontrunner Donald Trump, who the same poll shows has expanded his lead over the rest of the crowded GOP field, the vice president comes out on top, 48 percent to 40 percent.
Biden also beats former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, 45 percent to 39 percent, and Sen. Marco Rubio 44 percent to 41 percent, according to the new survey.
Clinton wins in those potential matchups, too, but by less convincing numbers. Still, she remains her party’s No. 1 presidential choice. Forty-five percent of Democrats said they would vote for her, while 22 percent said they would back Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT). Biden received 18 percent.
Yet the survey found there is a strong undercurrent of support Biden could tap into, with his favorability rating among Democrats hovering around 80 percent.
But Biden’s son Beau died from brain cancer in May, and that loss could weigh heavily as the former senator decides whether to enter the 2016 race.
On Wednesday, Biden told a group of Democratic National Committee members he is unsure if he has the “emotional fuel” to run for president, according to CNN.
“If I were to announce to run, I have to be able to commit to all of you that I would be able to give it my whole heart and my whole soul and right now, both are pretty well banged up,” Biden told the members on a conference call.
“We’re dealing at home with ... whether or not there is the emotional fuel at this time to run,” he added.
Further adding to the speculation is the news that Biden will host AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka at his residence in Washington today. The nation’s largest labor union has held off on endorsing Clinton in the hopes that a delay will force her to come around to its policies on wages and trade.
Meanwhile, a group of donors who helped finance Obama’s national campaigns, told The Washington Post there is a lot of interest in supporting a Biden run.
However, “people will want to look him in the eye and see that in fact he has the fire in the belly, because that was just crystal clear when we all had that conversation with then-Senator Obama, and I think people want to have that same sense with Joe,” said Kirk Dornbush, chief operating officer of Iconic Therapeutics, a biotech firm in San Francisco.