According to a new Gallup poll, Vice President Biden's favorable rating has plummeted from 59 percent to 42 percent. At the same time his unfavorable rating has risen sharply, from 29 to 40 percent. Pundits were quick to note that Cheney, at the same stage in his vice presidency, enjoyed much higher popularity, with a favorability rating of 65 percent. Why has gaffe-prone Biden fallen so much more quickly from the public's graces?

  • 9/11 Temporarily Inflated Cheney's Popularity, writes David Weigel at the Washington Independent: "It’s got to be noted that Gallup’s average includes the massive popularity/approval surge that Cheney, and everyone else in the administration, received after the events of 9/11. A look back at pre-9/11 polls finds that Cheney’s popularity started in the high 50s and low 60s and fell as low as the high 40s — although in those days, when he was known more for battling some heart problems than for pushing for neoconservative foreign policies, he often outpaced President Bush."
  • It's Because He's Low Key, writes Steven L. Taylor: "Biden is a less significant figure in the Obama administration than Cheney was in the Bush administration... My guess is that after his term is over (be it 4 or 8 years), Biden will leave office more popular than was Cheney when he left simply because Biden is simply not as controversial a figure as Cheney (although, granted, things could change, but it seems unlikely)."
  • It's Because He's Not Gaffing Anymore, giggles Dan Amira at New York Magazine: "What he has noticeably not been doing is grabbing headlines with hilarious and entertaining gaffes. Like that time he told everyone not to take public transportation, or when he said the stimulus had a 30 percent chance of not working. Oh man, those were classic. And though those foot-in-mouth moments embarrassed the administration, they brought joy to households all over America, and people loved Biden for them. Which is why, now that Biden has attained some self-discipline and forsaken our desire to laugh at his expense, more Americans have an unfavorable opinion of him than ever before, according to the latest Gallup poll. It may not be fair, but that's showbiz."