Americans perceive Joe Biden as more moderate than Barack Obama at the same stage of his presidency, a new survey shows, even as progressive activists say the incumbent is governing to the left of the former president.
The perception of Biden as a moderate may be helping him win support from congressional Democrats in competitive parts of the country who might otherwise feel pressured to oppose his agenda.
In April 2009, the NBC poll found that 59 percent of registered voters saw Obama as “very” or “somewhat” liberal, while 30 percent saw him as moderate. A new NBC poll released Sunday finds that 44 percent see Biden as “very” or “somewhat” liberal, while 42 percent see him as “moderate.”
It was a problem for Obama, resulting in defections from centrist Democrats and calls to scale back his agenda.
But Biden — a politician known for his institutionalism who campaigned as a moderate unifier — has continued to maintain that perception among large swaths of the public, even as Republicans depict him as bowing to his party’s left-wing.
Biden signature 100-day achievement, a $1.9 trillion economic stimulus package, was considerably larger than the $787 billion recovery aid enacted by Obama in the early days of his administration.