A new Reuters/Ipsos poll finds half the nation's Democrats want Joe Biden in the race, but it doesn't mean they'd vote for him.
The results come as speculation surrounding Biden’s intentions has intensified, with reports having him close to a decision. The declared Democratic presidential candidates, including Clinton and U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, her closest rival, will take the stage Tuesday night in Las Vegas for the first party debate.
Biden will not be there, but 48 percent of Democrats surveyed in the Reuters poll wish he were a candidate, compared with 30 percent who said he should stay out. Independents were split on the question, with 36 percent saying Biden should stay in and an equal share believing otherwise.
But support for Biden’s entry into the race does not translate into equal passion for his candidacy. Just 17 percent of those surveyed said Biden would be their first choice, while 46 percent would back Clinton. Biden would also run behind Sanders, who remains the favorite of one fourth of Democrats surveyed.
Steve Schale, a Democratic strategist in Florida with Draft Biden, a political action committee established to lay the groundwork for a Biden run, said more voters would be likely to support Biden once he has officially launched a campaign.
“There’s an element of people – they know they like him, but they’re not willing to give him their vote yet,” Schale said.
I'm still undecided, frankly. There are policy positions, past present, and future, that I like and dislike about all three candidates. But count me in the group that wants Joe Biden in the race.