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Democratic support for Joe Biden 2016 campaign up to 50 percent: survey

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The drumbeat for Joe Biden to jump into the 2016 presidential race is growing louder.

Almost half of the nation’s Democrats want the vice president to enter the field and challenge front-runner Hillary Clinton, according to a new Reuters/Ipsos poll.

The results come as speculation surrounding Biden’s intentions has intensified, with reports having him close to a decision. The declared Democratic presidential candidates, including Clinton and U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, her closest rival, will take the stage Tuesday night in Las Vegas for the first party debate.

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Biden will not be there, but 48 percent of Democrats surveyed in the Reuters poll wish he were a candidate, compared with 30 percent who said he should stay out. Independents were split on the question, with 36 percent saying Biden should stay in and an equal share believing otherwise.

But support for Biden’s entry into the race does not translate into equal passion for his candidacy. Just 17 percent of those surveyed said Biden would be their first choice, while 46 percent would back Clinton. Biden would also run behind Sanders, who remains the favorite of one fourth of Democrats surveyed.

Steve Schale, a Democratic strategist in Florida with Draft Biden, a political action committee established to lay the groundwork for a Biden run, said more voters would be likely to support Biden once he has officially launched a campaign.

“There’s an element of people – they know they like him, but they’re not willing to give him their vote yet,” Schale said.

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Former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, ex-Senator Jim Webb of Virginia and Lincoln Chaffee, a former governor of Rhode Island, comprise the rest of the Democratic presidential field.

Clinton has been perceived as increasingly politically vulnerable as questions persist over her use of a private email server while she was secretary of state in the Obama administration. That controversy has helped stoke the fires for a late-in-the-game Biden shot.

Even so, Clinton continues to command large organizational and financial advantages, as well as the lion’s share of the Democratic electorate, as the Reuters poll confirms.

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Those close to Biden told Reuters that the vice president, still grief-stricken over the death of his son Beau from brain cancer in May, has not yet settled upon a course of action and is determined to stay true to his personal timetable.

Media reports last week had aides to Biden consulting with the Democratic National Committee about upcoming deadlines for qualifying for state primary ballots. Several are as early as November, meaning that Biden will have to reach a decision soon or risk being left off the ballot in some primaries.

The Reuters/Ipsos poll was conducted from Oct. 7-12 and surveyed 1,431 adults, including 580 self-identified Democrats. The credibility interval, which is similar to the margin of error, was 3 percent for the broader survey and 4.7 percent for the survey of Democrats.

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(Reporting by James Oliphant; Editing by Caren Bohan and Leslie Adler)


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Elections 2016

Modi tells Xi summit will launch ‘new era’ for India and China

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India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi said Saturday that his summit with Chinese leader Xi Xinping would launch a "new era" between the neighbours who are seeking to overcome troublesome differences.

Modi and Xi strolled along a pristine Bay of Bengal beach and held one-on-one talks overlooking the ocean before their delegations sat down to official negotiations at the historic resort town of Mahbalipuram, south of Chennai.

The two leaders are meeting for the second time in a year in a bid to ease tensions over border disputes, the troubled Kashmir region and China's domination of trade between their huge economies.

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Trump calls for impeachment of Mitt Romney for criticizing him in rambling tweet

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Hours after Donald Trump attacked Sen. Mitt Romney for being critical of his call for the Chinese to dig up dirt on former Vice President Joe Biden, the president was back for another round, calling for the Utah Republiocan to be impeached.

Claiming without evidence that voters in Utah are turning on their senator, Trump claimed, "I’m hearing that the Great People of Utah are considering their vote for their Pompous Senator, Mitt Romney, to be a big mistake. I agree! He is a fool who is playing right into the hands of the Do Nothing Democrats!" followed by:  #IMPEACHMITTROMNEY

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Elections 2016

Trump claimed ‘inequality is down’ — one day later federal data showed the exact opposite is true

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"The separation between rich and poor from 2017 and 2018 was greater than it has ever been."

Federal data released Thursday showed U.S. income inequality in 2018 reached the highest level since the Census Bureau began measuring it five decades ago, a finding that comes less than 24 hours after President Donald Trump said "inequality is down."

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