Democrats Agree: Biden Is Too Old

69% of Democrats agree with 89% of Republicans on that front
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 28, 2023 10:05 AM CDT
Voters in Both Parties Say Biden Is Too Old
Former President Donald Trump on his plane after a campaign rally at Waco Regional Airport, in Waco, Texas, on March 25.   (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

Americans actually agree on something in this time of discord: Joe Biden is too old to be an effective president in a second term. Only a few years his junior, Donald Trump raises strikingly less concern about his age. But they have plenty of other problems with Trump, who at least for now far outdistances his rivals for the GOP nomination despite his criminal indictments. Never mind his advanced years—if anything, some say, the 77-year-old ought to grow up. A new poll from the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research finds much of the public oddly united in sizing up the one trait Biden cannot change:

  • Biden: In the poll, fully 77% said the 80-year-old Biden is too old to be effective for four more years. Not only do 89% of Republicans say that, so do 69% of Democrats. That view is held across age groups, not just by young people, though older Democrats specifically are more supportive of his 2024 bid.
  • Trump: In contrast, about half of US adults say Trump is too old for the office, and here the familiar partisan divide emerges—Democrats are far more likely to disqualify Trump by age than are Republicans.
  • Age ceiling? About two-thirds of US adults back an age ceiling on candidates for president and Congress, and a mandatory retirement age for justices. Specifically, 67% favor requiring Supreme Court justices to retire by a certain age, 68% support age ceilings for candidates for House and Senate, and 66% support age ceilings for candidates for president.

  • 'Confused': The AP-NORC survey went beyond posing questions and presenting choices. It also had a word association exercise, asking people to offer the first word or phrase that comes to mind at the mention of each man. In those visceral responses, 26% mentioned Biden's age, and an additional 15% used words such as "slow" or "confused." One Republican thought of "potato." Among Democrats, Biden's age was mentioned upfront by 28%. They preferred references to his age over terms like "president," "leader," "strong," or "capable." One who approves of his performance nevertheless called him "senile."
  • 'Crooked': Only 3% in the survey came up with "confused" as the first descriptor for Trump, and a mere 1% used "old" or the like. Instead, the top words were those like "corrupt" or "crooked" (15%), "bad," and other generally negative terms (11%), including words such as "liar" and "dishonest" (8%), along with "good" and other generally positive comments (8%).
  • The poll of 1,165 adults was conducted Aug. 10-14, using a sample drawn from NORC's probability-based AmeriSpeak Panel, which is designed to be representative of the US population. The margin of error is 3.8 percentage points.
(More Election 2024 stories.)

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