Joe Biden 2016: 5 Factors That Might Push Him To Run

New poll numbers could make Biden think there's an opening for him in the race

ByABC News
August 20, 2015, 6:07 AM

— -- Vice President Joe Biden has spent the past few weeks mostly out of the public eye in South Carolina and Delaware, spending time with his family and deciding whether he’ll make another run for the White House in 2016.

As he continues to weigh both the advantages and the downsides facing his potential presidential campaign, here’s a look at five factors that just might make Biden jump into the 2016 race.

1. Democrats Want the Option of Biden

Some Democratic voters want Biden on the ballot, even if they’re not ready to commit to voting for him just yet. A CNN/ORC poll released Wednesday found 53 percent of Democratic registered voters wanted the vice president to enter the 2016 race, and half of those who support Clinton think Biden should run.

That number doesn’t necessarily mean those people would vote for Biden over Clinton. In fact, the same poll found that 35 percent of Democratic voters think he would do a worse job. But it shows voters are interested in variety –- a sentiment echoed by a recent South Carolina Post and Courier editorial entitled “Run, Joe Biden, Run."

“Mr. Biden would be a welcome 2015 addition to the 2016 White House fray,” the editorial read. “After all he’s not the only American weighing his presidential-race options. Voters are weighing their options, too. The more choices they have, the better.”

2. Clinton Is Slipping in the Horse Race

Could Clinton’s slipping poll numbers mean there’s an opening in the race for Biden? That’s something Biden and his team could be analyzing as Clinton’s lead over her Democratic challengers shrinks.

This week’s CNN/ORC poll showed 47 percent of Democratic registered voters supported Clinton -– her lowest polling numbers this election cycle. Up next -– Sen. Bernie Sanders, who had 29 percent support, followed by Biden, who trails at 14 percent despite not even being in the race.

3. And Clinton’s Taking a Hit in Favorability and Trustworthiness

Biden may be watching whether the continuing questions about Clinton’s e-mail server are affecting what voters think of her, and new polls suggest Biden may have an edge on Clinton when it comes to voter’s trust.

Three new Quinnipiac polls conducted in Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania showed Biden’s favorability and trustworthiness ratings were higher than Clinton’s.

In Florida, 44 percent of registered voters had a favorable view of Biden while only 37 percent said the same of Clinton. In Ohio 45 percent had a favorable view of the VP while only 36 percent said the same of the former Secretary of State. And in Pennsylvania, 46 percent had a favorable view of Biden while 38 percent said the same of Clinton.

Registered voters in Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania found Biden to be more trustworthy than Clinton by 20, 25, and 29 points, respectively.

4. It May Be His Last Chance to Run

At the age of 72, this is likely the vice president’s last chance to run for the White House after two previous failed attempts.

Biden ran unsuccessful bids for the White House in 1988 and again in 2008. He was eventually tapped as President Obama’s running mate and has served two terms as vice president.

So he might be thinking to himself: Is the third time the charm? On Election Day in 2012, he was already hinting he might pursue a third run for the White House. After casting his ballot in the 2012 election, Biden was asked if it was the last time he’d vote himself.

"No, I don't think so," he said smiling and setting off 2016 speculation before the last race had even finished.

5. Beau Wanted It

Before he passed away in May, Beau Biden, the vice president’s son, urged him to run for president in 2016, according to several news reports.

That last request from his oldest son could push Biden closer to a presidential bid. But the Biden family is still grieving the loss of Beau, and Biden will have to assess whether the family is ready endure the grueling presidential campaign.

“He’s attempting to deal with one of the most traumatic emotional events any human being can endure and all of us are sensitive to his healing,” Dick Harpootlian, former chair of the South Carolina Democratic Party and Biden supporter, told ABC News. “His family and their welfare is paramount to him. I know that’s contrary to most Washington politicians who would give their firstborn to be president of the United States literally, but that’s not Joe Biden.”