Biden is widely seen as too old to hold office, an AP-NORC poll shows. Trump has other problems


WASHINGTON (AP) — Americans actually agree on one thing at this time of raw contention: Joe Biden is too old to be an effective second-term president. Donald Trump, who is only a few years his junior, raises strikingly fewer concerns about his age.

But they have plenty of other problems with Trump, who is far ahead, at least for now, of his rivals for the Republican nomination despite his victory. Multiple criminal charges. No matter his advanced years, some say the 77-year-old should grow up.

New poll from Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research He finds that much of the audience is oddly united in quantifying the one trait Biden can’t change.

The president has resorted to raising the age issue himself, with tricks and tricks, as if trying to calm his audience about his eighty trips around the sun.

Age discrimination may be outlawed in the workplace, but the boss’s employers—the people—are not ashamed of their bias.

In the poll, 77% of respondents said Biden is too old to be effective for another four years. Not only do 89% of Republicans say it, but 69% of Democrats do. This view is held across age groups, not just by young people, though by older Democrats specifically More supportive of his 2024 bid.

In contrast, about half of adults in the United States say Trump is too old for the job, and here is where the familiar partisan divide emerges — Democrats are more likely to reject Trump because of his age than Republicans.

What is clear from the poll is that Americans say they hang out with the old and with the young, or at least with the younger ones.

Democrats, Republicans and independents want to sweep the halls of power with a sweeping broom, imposing age limits on the presidency, Congress and the Supreme Court. Overall, about two-thirds of US adults support an age limit for candidates for president and Congress, and a mandatory retirement age for judges.

Specifically, 67% support Supreme Court justices’ demand to retire at a certain age, 68% support maximum age limits for House and Senate candidates, and 66% support maximum age limits for presidential candidates.

Since it is mostly the elders who run the reins and deal with the constitution, don’t expect that to happen any time soon.

However, the survey indicates that many people across political lines are open to seeing a younger face, a fresher face, or both, capture the public imagination.

Among them is Noah Borden, a 28-year-old communications consultant in Alexandria, Virginia. Despite the clear preference for Biden over Trump, he wishes the top presidential contenders were closer to his generation.

“They’re generally very old,” Borden said. This older generation represents “a sense of values ​​and a sense of country and world that just isn’t accurate anymore. It can be dangerous to have that opinion.”

Likewise, Greg Pack, 62, a former and possibly future Trump voter in Ardmore, Oklahoma, wishes both Biden and Trump would move together.

“Just watching and listening to Biden, it’s clear he’s not the same again,” Buck, a registered nurse, said.

trump? “He’s a lot smarter but at the end of his term, who knows?” “I’m just ready for someone younger,” Buck said, thinking back to January 2029. Trump is tired of a man who is “all about himself” and “wears his indictments like a badge of honour,” but if that’s what it takes to defeat Biden, so be it.

What’s your word?

The AP-NORC poll went way beyond asking questions and offering options. It also included a word association exercise, where subjects were asked to provide the first word or phrase that came to their mind when each man was mentioned.

The answers underscored how age is a particular handicap for Biden across party lines, even when people aren’t asked to consider it, and how Trump gets away with it largely only to elicit contempt, if not disgust, on other fronts.

In those deep responses, 26% mentioned Biden’s age, and 15% used words like “slow” or “confused.” “Potato,” one Republican thought. Among Democrats, Biden’s age is mentioned in advance, at 28%. They preferred such terms to “chief”, “leader”, “strong” or “omnipotent”. However, the person who agreed to perform it described it as “senile”.

Only 3% of respondents came up with the word “confused” as their first description of Trump, and only 1% used the word “old” or something similar. Instead, the most common words were “corrupt” or “crooked” (15%), “bad” and other negative terms in general (11%), and words such as “liar” and “dishonest” (8). %), along with “good” and other generally positive comments (8%).

Why the difference between the two over public perceptions of their age?

“Biden seems to be very damaged by age-related conditions,” said Eric Desenhall, 60, a corporate scandal management consultant who has followed Trump’s career and worked in the Ronald Reagan White House. “Even people who love him see him as weak and completely nonexistent.”

“Whatever Trump’s downsides are, I don’t think most people see it as related to disability in an age-related way,” he said. In fact, the more I throw at him, the more he sounds like a brash little kid. Annoying, sure, but old? Not necessarily. Trump has been talking that way for nearly eight decades, and it always drives him forward.

For Diego Saldana, 31, it hits close to home when he sees Biden slur some words or take hesitant steps.

“I see all the symptoms my grandfather has,” he said. You cannot rule a country this way. His grandfather is now 94 years old. Saldana supports Trump despite hesitation about the criminal charges against him.

Eric Colwell, 34, an audit director in Sacramento, California, came up with “old” for Biden and “incompetent” for Trump as first impressions of him. As an independent and leaning Democrat, he sounded a little awkward on the phone because the United States couldn’t do better than those two.

“Sheer optics,” he said. “Old gentlemen. Visually, you want your leaders to be lively and energetic. We tend to fall short.

He views Trump, with all his gestures and hand gestures, as “a bigger figure, a little more animated, just his personality.” This gives him that energetic look. But Colwell is definitely not going there.

“Biden was a good move to set things right,” he said. “Biden is more representative of the status quo and normal life, and perhaps this is what attracted everyone to him in the beginning” after the turmoil of Trump’s presidency.

“Now you have a return to stability. But in terms of moving forward and making any tangible change for my generation, we will probably need young leadership.

Alyssa Baggio, 32, is a Democrat-leaning independent living in Vancouver, Washington, who works as a recruitment specialist for a homebuilder. She thought Biden was too old for the presidency before he even started it. She is convinced of that now and is open to voting next year for someone else, not just Trump.

Of Biden, she said: “I don’t think he’s done a terrible job in office, but I think it’s because, unlike Trump, he surrounds himself with people who are more experienced and logical.”

Not that they place much value on experience, except for external affairs. “The capital is a quagmire,” she said, “and the more experience you have, the deeper you will sink into the quagmire.”

“There must be a lot of young people who are also super-creative,” said Jose Tapia, 33, a videographer with a technology company in Raleigh, North Carolina. “There are no fresh faces at all.”

Older Democrats are less negative than younger Democrats about Biden’s decision to run again. In the poll, only 34% of Democrats under the age of 45 want him to run for re-election, compared to 54% of seniors. However, about three-quarters of Young Democrats say they would at least support him if he were the nominee. The others did not comply.

Respect the elderly

All this demoralized S. Jay Olshansky, professor of public health and aging expert at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He believes that age, when evaluating a presidential candidate, is no more important than eye color, and that the public’s focus on it diminishes gifted wisdom and experience.

“It’s kind of the classic ageism that we’ve been fighting against for the last 50 years,” he said. “A person’s age doesn’t matter. It’s the politics they put on the table that matters. The number of orbits around the sun is not an important variable at all.”

By observing the two men from afar and examining their medical records, Olshansky sees that Biden and Trump are likely to be elderly people despite the signs of weakness shown by Biden and Trump.

“Biden is likely to outlive Trump because he has fewer harmful risk factors and he exercises significantly more, while Trump does not,” he said. But overall, “they both perform at a very high level”.

He added, “If you don’t like what they say, it’s not because of their age. It’s because you don’t like what they say.”


The survey of 1,165 adults was conducted August 10-14, 2023, using a sample from NORC’s probability-based AmeriSpeak panel, which is designed to be representative of the US population. The margin of sampling error for all respondents is plus or minus 3.8 percentage points.


Associated Press video journalist Nathan Elgren in Washington and Associated Press writer Lynley Sanders in New York contributed to this report.

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