Joe Biden: Popular, but he’s no Obama

Apr 27, 2009 7:08am

(This is one of two items I’m filing this morning; see the other, on views of U.S. relations with Cuba, here.)

If part of Joe Biden’s job is to stay in the boss’ shadow, he’s doing fine.

Fifty-seven percent of Americans in the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll have a favorable opinion of the vice president, a respectable rating in this most basic measure of personal popularity. But it’s far short of Barack Obama’s 72 percent favorability, the highest at 100 days since Ronald Reagan.

And while 46 percent of Americans have a “strongly” favorable view of Obama, that falls even more sharply, to 20 percent, for Biden. The top dog clearly is the star.

Some of the differences with Obama may simply reflect exposure; more people have yet to form an opinion of Biden. But there are some groups in which he’s notably less popular – including some of his own affinity groups. Just 48 percent of senior citizens see Biden favorably, vs. 62 percent for Obama – even though Biden himself is a senior, at 66 years old, while Obama’s 47. And Biden’s a white Catholic, a swing voter group – but his popularity among white Catholics is 14 points less than Obama’s.

As with Obama, there are sharp partisan and ideological differences in views of Biden. Eighty-two percent of Democrats see him favorably, dropping to 53 percent of independents and 26 percent of Republicans. Similarly it’s 84 percent among liberals vs. 60 percent of moderates and 37 percent of conservatives. At the extremes, he’s popular with 89 percent of liberal Democrats, but just 21 percent of conservative Republicans.

Biden’s also much more popular among young adults (69 percent favorable) than their elders, particularly seniors. And he does better among better-educated Americans – 67 percent favorable among post-graduates, vs. 56 percent of those with less education.

Though he’s considerably less popular than Obama, Biden may find solace in another direction. In a Gallup poll last month just 30 percent of Americans expressed a favorable opinion of former Vice President Dick Cheney. Even as he trails the president in popularity, Biden beats his own predecessor by nearly 2-1.

(See our full 100 Days poll here.)

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