Biden: Hardcore Dems say "meh," public gives thumbs up. Meanwhile, everyone hates Pawlenty

Among the Democratic Party Reptiles here at the convention, enthusiasm for Joe Biden as VP is more "he'll do" than "woo-hoo." No one's speaking for attribution on that score, of course, but the pick so far is being met with mild enthusiasm at best. Biden speaks here Wednesday, so perhaps he can change some minds and fire up the base.

With the general public, Biden's regarded much more favorably, according to a just-released Zogby Poll. That same poll has very bad news for Tim Pawlenty's VP hopes.

Republican Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor who was an also-ran in the GOP presidential primary this spring, is far and away the favorite to be picked as the veep candidate on the Republican side. Almost half - 47% - said they would prefer him as McCain's running mate, including 49% of Republicans. No other candidate even reached double digits - Sen. Joe Lieberman was second at 7%, while Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty was third with 5%.

This is an interesting finding, because I think Mitt Romney's an absolute albatross as a running mate. His inherited wealth would play right into the Obama campaign's populist narrative, his Mormonism would undercut support among those bigoted against the LDC church (a chunk of the Republican base), and his assaults on McCain and policy flip-flops are drawbacks, too.

Typically the notion that a VP candidate can dramatically swing an election is untrue. Signs this year buck that trend, thought, with many voters saying McCain's advancing age and Obama's perceived inexperience make the second banana an important choice. This is another Zogby finding:

Remarkably, while just 7 percent said that they have ever voted for a presidential ticket specifically because of the vice presidential candidate, 74% said they think the Number Two on the ticket is important this year. Democrat Obama has been hit by opponents as being too inexperienced for the job, while others have charged that Republican John McCain, at age 71 (he turns 72 this week), is too old.

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