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Democratic strategist Christy Setzer, president of New Heights Communications, said Mr. Biden may not be able to keep the coalition of young voters Mr. Obama put together, but he “has a great shot of winning back blue-collar, rural Democrats in places like West Virginia that our party’s been hemorrhaging for years.”

For now, though, he’s got to mind his day job.

“At the end of the day, Biden’s chances are inextricably tied to Obama’s approval ratings in a way that Clinton’s aren’t as much. If Americans are feeling hopeful about Obama’s second term, they’ll be warm to a Biden presidency,” she said.