Word association poll: Biden 'good' and 'idiot'
September 5th, 2012
02:04 PM ET
6 years ago

Word association poll: Biden 'good' and 'idiot'

(CNN) - How would you describe Joe Biden?

The two most popular words, survey shows, are "good" and "idiot."

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A survey conducted by the Pew Research Center found a mention of the vice president brought a negative word to nearly as many minds (38%) as a neutral word (39%). Asked to describe Biden in one word, only 23% of respondents thought of a positive word, the poll showed.

A similar poll conducted late last month found more people thought of a favorable word to describe GOP vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan than either a negative or neutral word. Of those surveyed, 37% thought of a positive word, 35% thought of a negative word, and 28% thought of a neutral word to describe Ryan, who represents Wisconsin in the House of Representatives, where he is also chairman of the Budget Committee.

Neither survey specified its sampling error.

The top negative words used to describe Biden, the survey found, were "idiot," "incompetent," "clown," and "stupid." Out of 1,008 people surveyed, eight referred to him as a "joke" and seven used the word "buffoon."

"Good" and "honest" topped the list of positive words, which was followed closely by 10 people who named "funny" and eight who called him "great."

Among independent voters, only 18% offered a positive word, while 42% offered a negative word and 39% a neutral word.

The top words used to describe Ryan, who joined the GOP ticket last month, were "conservative," "intelligent," "good," and "young." Independents gave him a more favorable assessment than they did Biden: 36% positive, 38% negative, and 26% neutral.

And the top adjective used for Ryan was more favorable than the top word used to describe the 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. The 2008 survey provided no percentages, but found the top word to be "inexperienced," followed by "conservative," "strong" and "refreshing."

While 20 of those surveyed on Biden this year described him by his title, "vice president," of the 1,010 surveyed on Ryan, only 3 described Ryan by his title, "candidate."

The survey on Biden was conducted August 31-September 3, and the Ryan survey was conducted August 23-26.

Filed under: 2012 • Joe Biden • Paul Ryan
soundoff (27 Responses)

    I have two good ones , Lyin Ryan and romney the tax cheat . Both total phony s!!!!

    September 5, 2012 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |

    "GM is alive & Osama Bin Laden is dead!"

    September 5, 2012 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  3. Bryce Bertran

    He should stick to sharpening pencils.......

    September 5, 2012 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |

    Romney , toilet . Ryan , lyan Ryan !!!! Lyan !!!

    September 5, 2012 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  5. Conduct That Poll Again

    "A similar poll conducted late last month found more people thought of a favorable word to describe GOP vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan than either a negative or neutral word."

    Conduct that poll again today for Paul Ryan, and I'll bet you $10,000 that the word you get more often that not is: LIER.

    September 5, 2012 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  6. Liberal

    You're judged by the company you keep Obama.

    September 5, 2012 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  7. Liberal

    Obama – Destroyer, middle class tax increaser, Medicare killer.

    September 5, 2012 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  8. Critical Thinking

    I would say that Joe Biden is the Ed McMahon of the Democratic Party, but I won't because that would be an insult to the late Ed McMahon

    September 5, 2012 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  9. Chumlee

    Joe Biden: Intelligent, honest, articulate, worldly, impressive, knowing - 100% positive

    September 5, 2012 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  10. Ken

    About the words good & Idiot, is is GOOD that America will go to the polls in Record numbers to vote against Idiots who think that us non millionaire Peasants should pay for the tax Breaks / Subsidies for the Precious Dressage!!! I Bishop Tabby Nackle say That Yall have no Biz seeing my taxes & Robing uncle Sam. For I am King Lds Mo Man & my majic underwear will protect me from all that are non CULT members

    September 5, 2012 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  11. That Explains Everything

    "The Ryan survey was conducted August 23-26."

    Well, there you go. This survey was conducted before Ryan gave his acceptance speech for VP nomination at the convention. Since that time, I cannot count the news stories that I have seen that try to pick out the top 6 or top 8 or top 10 lies that Ryan told in his speech. It seems there were so many lies in Ryan's speech that news reporters had to give set themselves a limit on how many they were going to cover in their story and then try to stick to that number.

    If you took that survey again today, it would be a no brainer answer. We polled 100 people and asked them: Give me one word to describe Paul Ryan.

    Survey says: #1 Answer is LIAR.

    September 5, 2012 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  12. gt

    how about needle....

    September 5, 2012 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  13. Jeannie

    Well "good idiot" is certainly better than W's just "idiot." LOL!

    September 5, 2012 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  14. Babyboomer

    VP Biden's comments have always been direct and to the point. I like him, gaffes and all. Obama/Biden 2012

    September 5, 2012 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  15. Laverne

    People can say what they want to about Joe Biden, but he is passionate and very knowlegable. He is going to kick Paul Ryan's butt next month at the debate. It is so funny when folk continue to under estimate old Joe when he has NEVER lost an election or been out foxxed by the best of them in Washington!

    September 5, 2012 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  16. Pete

    Name association:Romney- toilet,Ryan- turd.Republicans- idiots,Democrates-patriotic,Congress- obstructionistic,Senate-lost,Pres.Obama-victor .Hey did I pass the voter psychological test,I'm on a roll,how bout putting me up against Romney in a debate,I do have some brain cells left,more than I can say for most republicans right and what's their excuse for voting loser all the time,its inherient and its pathedic isn't it!!

    September 5, 2012 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  17. jaimie

    Romneyhood ........ Give to the Rich take from the poor

    September 5, 2012 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  18. jaimie

    Romney and Ryan ........... Laurel and Hardy of the 21st century

    September 5, 2012 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  19. rrd


    "GM is alive & Osama Bin Laden is dead!"

    GM is not out the woods just yet.

    September 5, 2012 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  20. Fair is Fair

    Yep... he's a good idiot all right.

    September 5, 2012 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  21. Patrick Campbell

    How is it possible to do a survey for every topic,or subject.
    Cant we just let some things be and keep it moving..

    September 5, 2012 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  22. RandyIA

    I'm so sick of the OBL dead GM alive comment. Throughout the history of the US there have been 1800+ automakers, why are these 3 so special. Why didn't government in the past feel they needed to save the other 1797+.

    September 5, 2012 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  23. Padraig

    For Biden, plagerist and near-do-well. Idiot is okay but a little light.

    September 5, 2012 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  24. Critical Thinking

    Someone might want to check to see if his botox injections might be leaking into his brain. I suspect it is.

    September 5, 2012 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  25. ERP

    Biden makes many bloopers, but he is a decent man who knows his limitations and place behind a great boss. Nasty-minded people who associate him with inappropriate negative words must be stuck in a double time warp; they surely must have George W Bush or Dan Quayle in mind.

    September 5, 2012 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
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