Joe Biden’s entry into the presidential race would hurt Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders almost equally, according to a new Marist-NBC News poll.
The vice president is weighing a bid for the Democratic presidential nomination, and it’s long been thought he’d have more of an impact on Clinton, the former Secretary of State and establishment favorite.
But Biden, a former U.S. senator from Delaware, also has longstanding ties to the liberal/progressive constituencies attracted to Sanders, a U.S. senator from Vermont.
In Iowa, site of the nation’s first caucus February 1, Clinton leads Sanders among Democrats 48 to 37 percent. With Biden in the race, support for both drops 10 percentage points. Clinton still leads, but with 38 percent. Next is Sanders at 27 percent and Biden at 20 percent.
In New Hampshire, which plans to hold the nation’s first primary February 9, Sanders is ahead, 49 to 38 percent, over Clinton. Include Biden, and Sanders drops to 41 percent, while Clinton falls to 32 percent. Biden gets 16 percent.
The unpredictability of a three-way race is clear in another finding: All three are viewed favorably by strong majorities of Democrats. Biden scores somewhat higher, but Clinton and Sanders do very well.
Lee Miringoff, director of the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion, noted that while at the moment Biden was taking “a little piece here, a little piece there,” the ultimate impact would be how he conducted his campaign. Would he seek the support of liberals? The establishment? All of the above?
Biden Monday marched with steelworkers in Pittsburgh’s Labor Day parade, as supporters urged “Run, Joe, Run.” He urged a labor audience to push for a more equitable tax code.