A new poll shows voters giving Rep. Paul RyanPaul RyanNearly 600 VA dental patients may have been exposed to HIV, hepatitis Republicans raise red flags about ObamaCare repeal strategy Overnight Healthcare: GOP in talks about helping insurers after ObamaCare repeal MORE (R-Wis.) a slight edge when asked which VP candidate is better qualified to serve as president. 

The new survey from conservative-leaning outlet Rasmussen shows that 42 percent say the House Budget Chairman and Mitt Romney running mate would be more qualified to be commander-in-chief. Forty percent pick Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenObama promotes bipartisan cures bill Democrats miss warning signs, even in blue Maryland Biden to sit down with Colbert next week MORE, with 18 percent undecided. 

Ryan’s two-point edge, however, is within the poll’s 3-percent margin of error.

The survey comes after a difficult week for the vice president.

On Tuesday, he told a racially mixed audience at a campaign rally in Virginia that Republican policies toward Wall Street would "put y'all back in chains," a comment that brought swift condemnation from Republicans. 

The Obama campaign defended Biden and said that his remark was taken out of context.

Yet the latest in a series of gaffes from the vice president, led to media speculation that he might be forced off the ticket, despite the Obama administration’s repeated statements that Biden would run with the president in 2012.

On Thursday, White House press secretary Jay Carney said Republicans were trying to "distract attention" and said Obama had no intention of getting rid of Biden as his running mate. 

Obama campaign press secretary Ben LaBolt also denied a report in a new book, The Amateur, by Ed Klein, that officials had urged Obama to replace Biden with Secretary of State Hillary ClintonHillary Rodham ClintonGreen Party drops recount case in Pennsylvania Haim Saban calls Ellison an 'anti-Semite' Farage willing to help Trump 'formally' or 'informally' MORE on the ticket. 

On Friday, LaBolt said any talk of replacing Biden was just press-driven and called the vice president "absolutely essential to our ticket."

The new Rasmussen poll numbers will also be welcome news at Romney headquarters after other polls in Ryan's first week on the campaign trail suggested he had received a lukewarm response from voters.

A USA Today/Gallup poll on Monday, though, found that the seven-term Wisconsin lawmaker was viewed as a “fair” or “poor” choice by 42 percent, with 39 naming him an “excellent” or “pretty good” choice. 

That survey found Ryan was the worst performing VP pick immediately after his introduction since Vice President Dan Quayle in 1988.  Quayle was viewed as a “fair” or “poor” choice by 52 percent of the public in that year.

Another Rasmussen poll this week, though, found voters viewing Ryan more favorably after his selection by Romney. 

In that poll released Tuesday, 50 percent surveyed said they had a favorable view of the GOP veep pick, including 29 percent who held a “very favorable” view. Thirty-two percent viewed him unfavorably, with 13 percent holding a “very unfavorable” view. 

Overall, 43 percent said he was the right pick for Romney.

The Rasmussen poll on Biden and Ryan's relative qualifications for the presidency was conducted from Aug. 14 to 15.