Dems Debate While Biden Postpones

Oct. 15, 2015 — While the announced Democratic candidates faced each other in their first official forum at the Wynn Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas Tuesday night, Vice President Joe Biden continued to indicate that he won’t commit to making a decision about whether to enter the presidential contest until at least month’s end.

The continual postponing of the eventual candidacy decision suggests that Biden won’t enter the race. While he does have people around the country who would quickly come to his aid should he begin to construct a campaign, he is simply running out of time to qualify for the Democratic primary ballot separately in all 50 states if he were to begin from scratch in November. Though it would not be impossible for him to qualify, his task becomes immeasurably more difficult.

Waiting until next month to get in the race, when the first vote would be just three months away in Iowa followed by a string of primary and caucus participants casting ballots in non-stop fashion in 56 additional entities through mid-June, would add tremendous pressure to a Biden for President effort. The timing would force the vice president to immediately overcome major campaign logistical obstacles, such as the aforementioned ballot qualification process, hiring staff, developing a fundraising operation, crafting a campaign theme and message, etc. Additionally, he would have to spend virtually all available energy and staff time attempting to take down former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I/D-VT), both of whom are well entrenched in Democratic primary polling.

On the other hand, a new Fox News poll (Oct. 10-12; 1,004 national registered voters) reports good news for the vice president, while turning in quite negative numbers for Clinton when the two are paired against potential Republican general election opponents. Though the Fox Poll appears skewed because their sample is comprised of 40 percent self-identified Republicans and only 39 percent who claim to be Democrats, the latest Gallup rolling partisan political study (began in 2004) actually confirms Fox’s delineation.

Additionally, the new Fox results are consistent with many others who have surveyed the national Democratic primary electorate even though their sample size of 353 likely Dem primary voters is below the number normally required to obtain statistically reliable answers. This notwithstanding, the conclusions find Clinton placing first with 45 percent followed by Sen. Sanders at 25 percent, and Biden claiming only 19 percent.

While Clinton fares poorly against Republicans Donald Trump, Dr. Ben Carson, Carly Fiorina, and even Jeb Bush, who is nowhere in the GOP nomination fight, Biden tops them all.

Of the group, it is Dr. Carson who enjoys the strongest showing against the former Secretary of State, leading her by a commanding 50-39 percent national margin. If Biden were the Democratic nominee, the race virtually flips. Here, he would lead Carson, 46-42 percent.

In this configuration, Trump actually paces Clinton, too, (45-40 percent), but trails the vice president by a sizable 37-50 percent spread.

Fiorina would hold a slight 42-39 percent edge over Clinton, while former Florida Gov. Bush finds himself to be ahead of the former First Lady and New York senator, 44-40 percent. Biden, on the other hand, would top Fiorina, 46-42 percent, and Bush by a similar 46-41 percent.

It would not be surprising to see Biden soon decide to finish his term as vice president rather than launch a new presidential campaign. While that might be the best for the vice president personally, it would likely leave his Democratic Party in quite a political pickle.

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