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Poll: Joe Biden runs better than Hillary Clinton against Republicans

'Note to Biden: They like you,' says Quinnipiac University pollster. The vice president is thinking of getting into the 2016 presidential race. 

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Vice President Joe Biden speaks during a roundtable discussion at the Advanced Manufacturing Center at Community College of Denver earlier this year.

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If Vice President Joe Biden is looking for any more signs that there’s room for him in the Democratic presidential field, he’ll find them in the Quinnipiac Poll released Thursday.

Hillary Clinton still leads the field, but her margin is declining, as questions persist about her handling of e-mails during her time as secretary of State. She’s at 45 percent among Democrats, down from 55 percent in late July, according to Quinnipiac. Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders (I) is now at 22 percent and Vice President Biden is at 18 percent – as a noncandidate.

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Biden also performs slightly better than former Secretary Clinton in general election matchups against top Republican contenders. The veep beats Donald Trump 48 percent to 40 percent, while Clinton beats the billionaire 45-41. Biden beats Jeb Bush 45-39; Clinton beats the former Florida governor 42-40. Biden beats Marco Rubio 44-41; Clinton beats the Florida senator 44-43.

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“Note to Biden: They like you, they really like you, or they like you more than the others,” says Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll, in a statement.

Biden also has a much better favorability rating than Clinton among all voters. Only 39 percent of voters see Clinton favorably, with 51 percent seeing her unfavorably. Biden’s favorability rating is in positive territory: 48 percent favorable, 39 percent unfavorable.

Biden has long wanted to be president, and ran twice before, in 1988 and 2008. The issue now is whether he has the emotional strength to give a campaign his all, following the death of his elder son, Beau Biden, in May. Biden was extraordinarily close to his son, who left behind a wife and two young children.

In a conference call with Democratic officials Wednesday, Biden explained his state of mind.

“I have to be able to commit to all of you that I would be able to give it my whole heart and my whole soul, and right now, both are pretty well banged up,” Biden said, according to several people on the call, as reported by Politico.

The Quinnipiac poll was taken from Aug. 20 to Aug. 25, and surveyed 1,563 registered voters nationwide. The margin of error is plus or minus 2.5 percentage points.