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40% View Biden Favorably, 52% Don’t

Will he or won’t he run for the presidency in 2016? Only Vice President Joe Biden knows for sure, refusing to rule out another run for the White House in an interview earlier this month on NBC’s “Today” show. Right now, however, the vice president is earning some of the highest unfavorables since he took office in late January 2009.

Forty percent (40%) of Likely U.S. Voters hold at least a somewhat favorable opinion of Biden, while 52% regard him at least somewhat unfavorably, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey. This includes 14% with a Very Favorable view of him and 31% with a Very Unfavorable one. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

This is actually a slight improvement from late October when 55% held an unfavorable opinion of Biden, the most negative finding of his vice presidency.  In regular tracking, Biden’s overall favorables have ranged from a low of 38% in October of this year to a high of 56% in March 2009. His unfavorables have run from 39% to 55% in that same period.

The most recent findings are comparable to views of Vice President Dick Cheney in late November 2008, shortly before he turned the nation’s number two job over to Biden.  At that time, 38% viewed Cheney favorably and 55% unfavorably.

Predictably, there’s a wide partisan gap when it comes to opinions about Biden. Seventy-two percent (72%) of Democrats regard the vice president favorably. But 76% of Republicans – and 58% of voters not affiliated with either major party – share an unfavorable opinion of the man who represented Delaware in the U.S. Senate for 36 years before becoming vice president. Biden ran unsuccessfully for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1988 and 2008.

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The national survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on November 30-December 1, 2011 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

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