Poll: More describe Biden with negative terms

Vice President Joe Biden speaks Monday, August 13, 2012, during a rally at the Durham Armory in Durham, North Carolina. Differences between the Democratic and Republican tickets are stark on issues from taxes to education to spending Biden said. (Travis Long/Raleigh News Observer/MCT via Getty Images)
Raleigh News & Observer
Vice President Joe Biden speaks Aug. 13, 2012, during a rally at the Durham Armory in Durham, North Carolina.
Raleigh News & Observer

(CBS News) When asked for one word to describe Vice President Joe Biden, more respondents used negative words to describe him than positive words, according to a new poll by the Pew Research Center and the Washington Post.

Thirty-eight percent used negative terms while 23 percent used positive ones. Although the most common response was "good," the second most common word used was "idiot." Other common negative descriptions pinned on Biden included "incompetent," "stupid," and "clown." Of the remaining 39 percent of respondents used neutral terms such as "vice president" or "OK."

Biden is often in the news for his verbal gaffes. During an August campaign rally in Virginia, Biden told a predominantly black crowd that Republicans will "put ya'll back in chains." At the signing of the health care bill, Biden whispered - not quietly enough - in President Obama's ear that the bill was a "big f***ing deal."

Not surprisingly, Republicans were more likely to use a negative description of Biden than Democrats: 63 percent of Republicans to 8 percent of Democrats. Nearly half of independents - 42 percent - described Biden negatively.

The poll surveyed 1,008 adults between August 31 and September 3.

Pew did a similar survey of Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan last week with 37 percent of adults offering positive words and 35 percent negative. The most popular words to describe him included "conservative," intelligent," "young" and "unknown." Like with Biden, positive descriptions also divided along party lines while 38 percent of independents had negative descriptions and 36 percent had positive descriptions of Ryan.

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    Leigh Ann Caldwell is a political reporter for CBSNews.com.