Research News

Biden has authenticity voters want and Clinton lacks, Campbell says


Published September 10, 2015

James Campbell
“A lot of Democrats are looking for a Plan B. Biden is that Plan B.”
James Campbell, UB Distinguished Professor
Department of Political Science

It has been a rough summer for Hillary Clinton. What looked like an almost inevitable nomination has now been called into question, according to UB faculty member James Campbell.

Could Joe Biden be the solution to the Democrats’ woes?

“A lot of Democrats are looking for a Plan B,” says Campbell, UB Distinguished Professor of Political Science and a nationally known election forecaster. “Biden is that Plan B. He is authentic, as opposed to Secretary Clinton, who is a very scripted candidate who sometimes comes across as cold and arrogant. Biden is seen as more likeable, warm, friendly and authentic. He says what he thinks, and this year in particular, that seems to be what voters are looking for.”

Campbell believes Biden is likely to enter the Democratic nomination race soon due to a combination of personal and party reasons.

“Biden is an effusive guy and he has commitments to the Democratic and Obama agenda,” he says. “My guess is that he sees a duty to run, regardless of the personal hardships that running might create.”

This year, according to the polls, it is clear voters want a candidate who takes a no-nonsense kind of approach to politics, Campbell says. Look no further than Donald Trump and the success he has had, he says, noting that Trump’s authenticity is what has made him as popular as he is.

Biden has that appeal as well, despite the fact that he has been a Washington insider for decades, Campbell says.

“Biden has still managed to keep that personal approach to politics and been able to come across as an average person, like your next door neighbor,” Campbell says. “That is a sharp contrast to Clinton. There is not much that separates them ideologically, or in terms of policy, but stylistically, they are very, very different kinds of candidates, and that’s what will make this interesting.”