(CNN) — The vice presidency can be a stepping stone to the presidency. Just ask Joe Biden, who discovered that serving as Barack Obama’s number two was the ticket to winning his party’s nomination for president after two failed attempts.
Former Vice President Mike Pence, who took part in a public debate on CNN Wednesday night after declaring his 2024 candidacy, already faces a much rockier road to the White House than Biden’s. He comes in at just 4% in national polls, while Biden entered the 2020 race as the favorite.
This reflects history, which shows that while being vice president is often correlated with success in future presidential ambitions, it is far from a guarantee.
Think about the last few vice presidents who tried to rise in their positions. Biden became president, but Republican Dick Cheney never ran. Democrat Al Gore easily secured the party’s support in 2000, but Republican Dan Quayle dropped his candidacy long before the first votes were cast.
Half of the vice presidents of the last 30 years came to occupy the first position of their party.
But, what happens if we go back to the eighteenth century? Only 10 times has a current or former vice president (including Richard Nixon twice) led his party’s presidential ticket, out of a total of 49 vice presidents in the country’s history (including Kamala Harris). That doesn’t sound like an especially high success rate, though we must remember that many vice presidents (like Cheney) don’t run for office.
About 55% of the vice presidents who ran for their party’s nomination became the head of the ticket.
In my opinion, this is a high batting average. In most years (such as 2024) there are many presidential primary candidates. The probability that any one of those applicants will win the primaries by chance is well below 50%. Having the vice presidency on the résumé greatly increases the chances, but there are a lot of Quayles out there.
In this cycle, Pence seems to be much more on Quayle’s trail than Biden’s. Pence is about 50 points behind the man he served under (former President Donald Trump, the current favorite for the GOP nomination), who averages 54% nationally.
In fact, the biggest problem Pence has is that Trump wants his job back. For a vice president to run in the primary against his former White House boss is pretty rare. The last time this happened was in 1940, when President Franklin Roosevelt crushed his vice president, John Nance Garner.
It could also be argued that Quayle faced a similar challenge in the 2000 cycle, when George W. Bush, the son of Quayle’s running mate, former President George HW Bush, secured the support of the Republican Party.
Vice presidents often rise through name recognition and when primary voters like what their administration did in the White House. Democrats love Obama, so Biden benefited from that love. But when you have someone who can claim to be even closer to the man in charge of that administration (either the man himself or his son), then any vice-presidential advantage is gone.
Of course, Pence’s problems run even deeper. She isn’t too popular with Republican primary voters.
A Quinnipiac University survey conducted last month placed his favorability rating among Republicans at 48%, compared to 35% who viewed him unfavorably. By contrast, Trump is 86% favorable and 11% unfavorable.
Pence’s comparatively low favorability rating is due in large part to his former boss’s constant attacks on him.
Trump is upset that Pence believes — correctly, according to almost all legal scholars — that he could not overturn the results of the 2020 election on January 6, 2021, because his role as president of the Senate was largely ceremonial during the vote count. elections in Congress. And a clear majority of Republican voters believe the falsehood that Biden did not legitimately win the election.
If Pence were to stage a comeback, he would probably start with what would seem like a natural base: evangelical Christians. Pence has spoken openly of his “rebirth” experience in 1978. His ties to the religious right is one reason Trump included him on the ticket.
Yet Trump dominates among white evangelicals in national polls. According to a Fox News poll as of late last month, Trump leads the pack with 59%, with Pence trailing well behind in third at 6%.
The truth is, looking at the polls, Pence doesn’t have much of a footing. Something has to drastically change if he wants to win the nomination.
Source: CNN Espanol