A CNN/ORC poll released on September 21st reveals that if Joe Biden enters the Democratic presidential race, his candidacy would cut into Hillary Clinton’s lead over Bernie Sanders, giving the Vermont Senator an opportunity to surpass Clinton and win the Democratic nomination. The poll found that without Biden in the race, Clinton leads Sanders nationally 57 to 28 percent.
With Biden in the race, her lead remains substantial, but shrinks from a 29-point advantage to an 18-point edge. In the three-way contest Clinton holds a 42 to 24 percent advantage over Sanders, with Biden just behind Sanders at 22 percent support.
Some Democrats nervous that Clinton’s favorable numbers have taken a hit from the relentless media drum beat over the phony e-mail controversy, have turned to Joe Biden as a potential political savior for the party. Many of those Democrats are fearful that Bernie Sanders would lose a general election to Republicans, so they view Biden as a “plan B” candidate, in case Clinton continues to lose ground in the court of public opinion.
However, the CNN/ORC poll points out that having Biden “rescue” the party might actually backfire for anti-Sanders Democrats, as Biden’s candidacy would peel support away from Clinton, ironically making it easier for Sanders to secure the Democratic nomination. Even with Biden in the race, Clinton would remain the favorite. However, a three-way race clearly gives Sanders an opportunity to win, as Biden and Clinton could split the centrist pro-establishment vote, while Sanders could ride the progressive vote to a plurality in the Democratic primaries.
Joe Biden’s support has crept up from 14 percent in August, to 20 percent in early September, to 22 percent in the survey released on September 21st. He would certainly be a formidable candidate if he entered the race, giving the Democrats three strong options for their party’s 2016 nominee. Biden would be a welcome participant in the race.
However, anybody calling for his candidacy as a way of preventing Sanders from winning the nomination, had better reassess their thinking. A Biden candidacy would aid Sanders in his bid to secure the Democratic nomination, rather than thwart the Senator from Vermont’s efforts. Joe Biden entering the race could turn into the kind of “perfect storm” that could eventually propel Sanders into first place in the Democratic race. His activist base is likely to hold firm, while many Clinton supporters could shift their support to Biden.
Keith Brekhus is a progressive American who currently resides in Red Lodge, Montana. He is co-host for the Liberal Fix radio show. He holds a Master’s Degree in Sociology from the University of Missouri. In 2002, he ran for Congress as a Green Party candidate in the state of Missouri. In 2014, he worked as a field organizer for Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick’s successful re-election bid in Arizona’s 1st Congressional District. He can be followed on Twitter @keithbrekhus or on Facebook.