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Politics

Sanders Leads Clinton in Latest Monmouth Poll, Biden Identifies as Potential Sleeper in 2016 Election

Joe BidenBernie Sanders leads Hillary Clinton in support among likely Democratic Party voters in New Hampshire, according to the latest Monmouth University poll that surveys candidates for the 2016 presidential primary. 

The poll, conducted from September 10 to 13, 2015, may come to a surprise for some as the longtime but still longshot Independent Senator from Vermont leads Hillary Clinton overall (43 percent to 36 percent); as well as among both men (44 percent to 34 percent) and women (42 percent to 38 percent). Sanders leads Clinton among voters under 50 years old by 46 percent to 35 percent and voters age 50 to 64 by 44 percent to 34 percent, while Clinton only edges Sanders by 42 percent to 35 percent among those age 65 and older.

Just 19 percent of Democrats say they would be very unhappy if someone other than their chosen candidate won the party’s nomination. 

“Either way, it looks like most Democratic voters will be able to live with however this nomination contest turns out,” wrote Patrick Murray, Director of the Monmouth Polling Institute. 

The biggest shock however, may have been delivered by the performance of Vice-President Joe Biden (13 percent), who as of last weekend, had not publicly announced his candidacy.

Biden is apparently “more likely than not” to seek his party’s nomination for president in 2016, beginning with the first debate between Democratic candidates on Oct. 13, according to a story published last Friday in the Wall Street Journal. 

“Vice President Biden jumping into the race at this point could be a game changer if Hillary Clinton stumbles over the next few months,” according to Dr. Joseph Patten, Chair of the Political Science Department.

For those seeking another option in a field that is seemingly lacking when compared to the ranks of candidates lining up for the Republican nomination, Biden could provide Democratic voters with a failsafe option should Hillary or Sanders fail in consolidating party support.

“He’s the kind of guy I’d like so sit down and have an ice cream with,” said a graduate student studying Public Policy who asked to remain anonymous because they currently work on a campaign with close ties to Hillary Clinton.

“Wafer cone, vanilla soft serve, rainbow sprinkles,” relished the student, parodying a picture of the Vice President eating an ice cream cone while wearing aviator sunglasses that went viral. The student 

Another graduate student said that while they have no distain for the Obama-Biden administration, they would rather vote for Clinton, Sanders or another candidate. The student, who also chose to remain anonymous, cited his unflappable demeanor during the 2012 Vice Presidential debate as a reason why they would not vote for him. “He seemed cocky and arrogant,” they said, adding, “he’s not presidential.”

On the other hand, rhetorical critics of Biden’s performance in that debate credited him with rejuvenating the Obama reelection campaign with renewed vigor after the President came out flat in the first debate against GOP candidate Mitt Romney.

Biden’s decision whether to run in 2016 is reported to be a source of great suspense among the Democratic Party elite and could provide another unanticipated challenge to the Clinton campaign. 

Clinton risks losing more ground to her opponents when she allegedly breached government protocol in establishing a privately encrypted server for her State Department emails. This  may also have fed the surge in support for any and all political challengers within her own party, including Biden.

Quick to capitalize on the recent spark in interest in the mercurial politician, Reuters  published an article claiming a group of prominent Democratic donors had been holding out on supporting former Secretary of State Clinton in hopes that Biden would eventually throw his hat into the proverbial ring. 

A group of influential donors and activists, including a member of the Democratic National Committee’s national finance committee, allegedly penned a letter to Biden “aimed at pressuring Biden to decide soon,” as described by Reuters. “We are ready if he’s ready,” the letter is said to claim.

But what the media has speculated contradicts what Biden has said publicly. His own accounts of his despair in the wake of his son Beau’s death earlier this year have made him sound hesitant about joining the race.

At the same time, he has met with Democrats leaders such as Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, who had faced pressure to run herself. He has also recently embarked on a travel schedule that will take him to California, Michigan and Ohio, states that could be decisive in the general election.

“It takes a lot of time to build the necessary infrastructure to run for president and it’s getting a little late in the game,” said Patten. “However, Biden is advantaged by the fact that he is a sitting Vice-President and thus is in a better position than a typical candidate to build an organization across 50 states.”

Should he choose to run a third time for the presidency (1988, 2008) and win, Biden would be the oldest president at the time of his first inauguration (73 years-old), four years older than Ronald Reagan when he was sworn in for the first time in 1981 (69 years-old). Sanders, who just turned 74, would beat out both Biden and Reagan for the oldest President elect. 

IMAGE TAKEN from The Washington Post

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