The latest Gallup numbers look bad for Joe Biden. His approval rating has sunk to 42%, which seems to put him way below the 55% Al Gore averaged in his first year, and way, way below the 65% Cheney averaged in his. Say it ain’t so! “OK, it ain’t so,” writes Marc Ambinder for the Atlantic. The comparisons are muddled by time; Cheney, for example, got the same 9/11 boost his boss did.
And remember, this is before Cheney became the controversial, deeply unpopular figure he is today—we thought he was the “adult” keeping Dubya in line. As for Gore, his popularity was, like Biden’s in the mid-to-high 40s, until he got a spike for confronting Ross Perot on NAFTA. It is true, of course, that Biden is less popular than he was. But he’s also enormously influential—that rating might just reflect the heavy lifting he’s been doing.