One-quarter of Americans who are registered Democrats or lean that way say Vice President Joe Biden is now their top choice for president.
The findings of a national Bloomberg poll released Wednesday represent a notable achievement for an as-yet undeclared candidate, suggest concerns about Hillary Clinton’s candidacy, and raise the prospect of a competitive three-way race for the Democratic presidential nomination.
Clinton, once the prohibitive front-runner, is now the top choice of 33 percent of registered Democrats and those who lean Democrat, the poll shows. Biden places second with 25 percent and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders is at 24 percent. The other three Democratic candidates combined are the top choice for less than 4 percent of that base.
The latest Bloomberg survey shows the vice president at par with Sanders in terms of Democratic support nationally. Adding to the good news for the vice president: His favorability ratings are on the rise. Since the last Bloomberg poll in April, Clinton’s favorability ratings have dropped 10 points, from 48 percent to 38 percent.
Biden’s 49 percent favorable score represents a three-point uptick. He was the only one of a dozen national political figures and entities whose approval rating improved.
Trump calls Clinton ‘shrill,’ criticizes Fiorina
Donald Trump said during a campaign speech in North Charleston, S.C., Wednesday that Hillary Clinton is ‘‘shrill,’’ raising his voice several octaves to get the point across.
‘‘Hillary, who is very shrill — do you know the word ‘shrill’?’’ Trump said to a crowd of a few hundred at a convention center here Wednesday afternoon. ‘‘She can be kind of sha-riiiiill.’’
Trump is often criticized for the way he describes women, and Clinton was not the only woman he went after. He said Caroline Kennedy is too nice to be the ambassador to Japan. He described, at length, a ‘‘vicious, vicious woman’’ in her 80s who once sued him during a dispute over an apartment. And he yet again called the career of former technology executive Carly Fiorina, another Republican running for president, ‘‘a disaster.’’
‘‘They say: ‘You can’t say that because it’s sexist,’ ’’ Trump said. ‘‘I say: ‘What’s sexist about it?’ I respect women more than I respect men . . . I have great respect, admiration, and I cherish women . . . I love women!’’
Several people in the audience said those sorts of brash, politically incorrect comments are the No. 1 reason they love Trump — and why they would vote for him in the presidential primary here next February.
‘‘He speaks his mind. He tells the truth,’’ said Stephanie Grant, a mother of three wearing a ‘‘ReTRUMPlican’’ T-shirt who drove about two and a half hours from Hartsville to see Trump. ‘‘As much as I hate to admit it, I’m 42 and I’ve never voted before. But I’m voting for him. I never felt like anyone was telling the truth before now.’’
Trump’s team billed the event as an address to the South Carolina African American Chamber of Commerce, but his appearance actually came during the Greater Charleston Business Alliance’s annual meeting.
Earlier in the day, Trump had tweeted that ‘‘for the foreseeable future’’ he would no longer do interviews with Fox News.
Clinton proposes change
to health care rules
WASHINGTON — Hillary Clinton proposed a series of steps on Wednesday to lessen the burden of out-of-pocket medical bills for Americans covered by President Obama’s health care law.
The Democratic presidential candidate said she would require plans to provide three sick visits a year without counting toward a patient’s annual deductible, a provision that would apply to both private health plans and those covered through the president’s health care law. She said many Americans are forced to pay a significant cost out-of-pocket if they get sick because average deductibles have more than doubled during the past decade.
Clinton would offer a refundable tax credit of up to $5,000 for families not eligible for Medicare for excessive out-of-pocket health care costs.