From “’HE HAS NOWHERE TO GO BUT DOWN’: DEMOCRATIC RIVALS PREDICT BIDEN WOULD BE THE NEXT HILLARY,” posted today (3.328) by Vanity Fair‘s Chris Smith:
“[Biden’s] team knows he’d start off as the front-runner. What they’re trying to gauge is whether that’s a real thing,” says a Democratic strategist who worked for Hillary Clinton, and saw her favorables crater once Clinton declared her 2016 candidacy. “They’re saying, ‘Is that a durable cushion of support, or will we give back half or two-thirds of that support within three months, after we decide to get in the race?’
“No doubt Biden’s team is actively polling and focus-grouping those questions, though his spokesman refused to comment. Biden’s potential rivals are certainly measuring his strengths and weaknesses, and they are encouraged by what they’re seeing and hearing.
“Biden is polling as the front-runner right now, but there’s no intensity there. And he has nowhere to go but down,” a strategist for one of the Democratic contenders says. “There were these mirages in early polling that doomed Hillary both times, and it was a function of a similar dynamic, where you’ve got broad, deep name I.D. Every backward-looking Democratic nominee, one who’s been a vice president in the previous administration or played a major role — Hillary, Gore, Mondale — all failed.
“And Democrats have always succeeded when it’s been a fresh face and somebody who hasn’t spent a ton of time in Washington. That’s consistent with the research we’ve done internally this time: ‘Do you want someone older, or someone new?’ People overwhelmingly want someone new. To me, A.O.C. represents so much of what is going to be challenging for Biden. She’s speaking to people, saying, ‘Yeah, I’m fucking sofa-surfing as a member of Congress. That’s how people live.’ Biden is not exactly matching that moment.”