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Democrats split on whether Joe Biden should enter 2016 race

An NBC News online survey conducted by SurveyMonkey found that Democratic and Democratic-leaning voters are split on whether or not Joe Biden should run.

With controversy swirling around Hillary Clinton’s emails and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders garnering large crowds of fans, there’s been a lot of buzz around whether Vice President Joe Biden will enter the 2016 presidential race. An NBC News online survey conducted by SurveyMonkey of 9,127 adults from August 7-10 found that Democratic and Democratic-leaning voters are split on whether or not he should run: Forty-six percent would like to see Biden jump in, while a slight majority, 52%, say they would not like him to enter the 2016 race.

But Biden will have his work cut out for him. Clinton and Sanders continue to earn double-digit numbers in recent polls. Biden’s support barely rose from 7% in July to 11% in August as rumors circulated that he would make a decision about a presidential run in the coming weeks.

RELATED: Lindsey Graham predicts Joe Biden will jump into 2016 race

He has remained consistently in third place in the polls behind front-runners Clinton and Sanders, although Biden is not an official candidate. And that’s the question -- if the vice president decides to enter the presidential race, could he could take votes from Clinton or Sanders? 

The most recent NBC-Survey Monkey poll shows 49% of Democrats and independents who lean Democrat say they would vote for Clinton if the primary or caucus were being held in their state today, while 25% would support Sanders. But a full two-thirds of Democratic primary voters said they could be persuaded to vote for another candidate. Perhaps somewhat worrying for the Clinton campaign is that 39% of Clinton supporters would like to see Biden enter the race. Among Sanders supporters, nearly the same number – 36%, would also welcome Biden’s entry into the race.

Dem RVs Including Leaners Dems only Inds who lean Dem N size
Joe Biden 11% 11% 10% 313
Lincoln Chafee * * * 17
Hillary Clinton 49 53 35 1528
Martin O'Malley 1 1 1 36
Bernie Sanders 25 21 39 916
Jim Webb 1 1 1 41
Wouldn't vote/DK 9 9 8 253
Someone else 4 3 5 95
No answer 1 1 * 15

A majority of those who would like to see Biden enter the presidential race are women – 57%, while 43% are men. Additionally, 63% of black Democratic voters would like to see Biden enter the race, compared to just 38% of white Democratic voters. Thirty-four percent of Biden supporters are black, compared to 28% of Clinton supporters and only 4% of Sanders supporters. 

Men Women White Black Hispanic 18-29 30-44 45-64 65+ HS or less Some college College grad
Clinton 39 61 50 28 17 15 29 38 18 36 30 34
Sanders 47 53 75 4 14 36 28 23 13 27 33 40
Biden 42 58 43 34 16 11 26 40 23 44 25 31

Much of Sanders’ support comes from the youth vote – 36% of his backers are under 30, more than twice as many as Clinton or Biden has. Twenty-three percent of Biden supporters are 65 and over, whereas 18% of Hillary supporters are 65 and over. Only 13% of Sanders supporters are in that age range. Biden and Clinton supporters are more moderate than Sanders supporters – 36% of Sanders’ backers identify as liberal, compared to 41% of Clinton supporters and 33% of Biden supporters. Biden supporters generally belong to a lower income bracket and have lower education levels than do Clinton and Sanders supporters. 

The NBC News Online Survey was conducted online by SurveyMonkey from August 7-10, 2015 among a national sample of 9,127 adults aged 18 and over. Respondents for this non-probability survey were selected from the nearly 3 million people who take surveys on the SurveyMonkey platform each day. Results have an error estimate of plus or minus 1.5 percentage points. A full description of our methodology and the survey can be found here.

The survey was produced by the Analytics Unit of NBC News in conjunction with Penn’s Program on Opinion Research and Election Studies with data collection and tabulation conducted by SurveyMonkey.