A Maybe-Not-So-Important Question

A Politico story that was briefly leading the site this evening addresses one of the not-so-pressing political issues of the day: Joe Biden’s polling numbers, which are in a sharp and apparently mysterious decline. It’s one of those stories that undercuts its own significance as it proceeds: “There isn’t a huge reservoir of polling on veep popularity, largely because the American public is rarely up to speed on what the vice president is doing,” we read. Also, nearly one-fifth of respondents have no opinion about Biden, despite the fact that he’s spent four decades in national politics. In other words, most people probably don’t really care one way or the other.

Still, no big deal; Politico’s in the business of producing a lot of content for a niche audience, and not everything’s going to be earth-shattering. But the story’s first quote—the one that’s supposed to sum up the thesis and lay out its significance—doesn’t really pass the giggle test. It comes from Gallup editor-in-chief Frank Newport, who declares that the source of Biden’s statistical decline is “a fascinating and important question.”

Fascinating? For people who conduct approval polls for a living, sure. Important? Maybe not so much.

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Greg Marx is an associate editor at CJR. Follow him on Twitter @gregamarx.