Thursday, September 11, 2008

Joe Biden is the Rodney Dangerfield of Campaign '08

Joe Biden has become the Rodney Dangerfield of the election – he simply “gets no respect”. Everyone in the media is going on and on about what a brilliant pick Sarah Palin was, and how Biden is boring and didn’t give Obama a “bounce” or help him at all. Heck, even I have argued that Biden didn’t attract a lot of new voters to Obama, so that if there were some mysterious plan to replace him, it wouldn’t hurt too much.

A recent battleground state poll in Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania from Quinnipiac University – regarded as one of the most reliable pollsters – seems to echo this general sentiment:

“Voters in all three states say Sen. McCain's selection of Gov. Palin is a good choice: 60 - 26 percent in Florida, 57 - 30 percent in Ohio and 55 - 33 percent in Pennsylvania.
Overall, even among many Democrats, Palin gets good grades. By almost a two-to-one margin, voters see McCain's choice of her as a good one, roughly the same who feel that way about Sen. Joe Biden.”

This is the sort of thing that gives Democrats nightmares. But when you look into the internals of this very same poll, you find some interesting figures, especially when examine independents.

When you examine favorability ratings, you see Biden at 40-26 (FL), 35-20 (OH) and 54-21 (PA) among independents. Palin is at 47-18 (FL), 41-23 (OH) and 32-28 (PA). So the numbers are similar, except that Biden does much better in Pennsylvania (where he’s from).

Next, how did independents feel about whether or not the VPs were good choices? For Obama choosing Biden, the figures are 50-21 (FL), 50-30 (OH) and 66-23 (PA). For McCain choosing Palin, the numbers are 61-27 (FL), 63-25 (OH) and 49-36 (PA). Overall, this seems like an edge to Palin.

Ah, but now, the last question: does the VP choice make you more or less likely to vote for the ticket? For Biden the figures among independents are 23-13 (FL), 18-13 (OH) and 28-13 (PA). But for Palin they are 26-19 (FL), 24-20 (OH) and an important 19-30 in PA.

Overall, in terms of likelihood of influencing the ticket, Biden scores a net of 10+5+15 = +30, while Palin scores a net of 7+4-11 = 0. And that’s for a poll done during McCain’s post-convention bounce and during Palin’s “honeymoon phase” with the media and the public.

As for Biden himself, he keeps doing what he does best: plugging away in the swing states day after day. With the recent tightening of the race, his impact on the critical state of Pennsylvania could be very important in allowing Obama to concentrate more on other areas.

Time will tell which VP will end up being the better choice, but those who write off Biden as a joke and Obama as a fool for picking him should keep in mind the tortoise and the hare.


Amy said...

Good post. Interesting analysis.

Oldnovice said...

I sure hope you're right, Null.