According to an AP-NORC poll, Biden is widely considered too old for office. Trump has other problems

WASHINGTON (AP) – Americans are indeed united on one thing in this time of raw discord: Joe Biden is too old to be an effective president in a second term. Donald Trump is only a few years his junior and is noticeably less concerned about his age.

But they have plenty of other problems with Trump, who, despite his numerous criminal charges, is far ahead of his competitors for the Republican nomination, at least for now. Not to mention his advanced age – the 77-year-old should, some say, grow up sooner.

A new poll by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research finds that much of the public is oddly united on the one trait Biden can’t change.

The president has taken it upon himself to broach the age issue himself with witty remarks, as if to reassure his audience about his 80 trips around the sun.

Ageism may be illegal in the workplace, but the President’s employers — the people — do not shy away from their bias.

In the poll, a whopping 77% said Biden was too old to be in effect for four more years. Not only do 89% of Republicans say that, but also 69% of Democrats. This view is shared across all age groups, not just young people, although older Democrats in particular are more supportive of his 2024 bid.

In contrast, about half of US adults say Trump is too old for office, and this reflects the well-known partisan divide: Democrats are far more likely to disqualify Trump based on age than Republicans.

It is clear from the poll that Americans are choosing the old over the young, or at least the younger.

Democrats, Republicans, and independents want to sweep a broad broom through the halls of power and introduce age limits for the presidency, Congress, and the Supreme Court. Overall, about two-thirds of US adults support an age limit for presidential and congressional candidates and a mandatory retirement age for judges.

Specifically, 67% support Supreme Court justices retiring by a certain age, 68% support age limits for candidates for the House of Representatives and Senate, and 66% support age limits for candidates for president.

Since the elders are primarily in charge and the constitution has to be dealt with, it cannot be expected that this will happen in the foreseeable future.

Still, the poll suggests that many people across political boundaries are open to seeing a younger face, a fresher face, or both, to capture the public imagination.

Among them is Noah Burden, a 28-year-old communications consultant from Alexandria, Virginia. While he clearly favors Biden over Trump, he wishes the frontrunners for the presidency were closer to his generation.

“They’re all too old,” said Burden. This older generation represents “a sense of values ​​and a sense of the country and the world that just isn’t true anymore.” It can be dangerous to hold that view.”

Likewise, Greg Pack, 62, a former and possibly future Trump voter in Ardmore, Oklahoma, wishes Biden and Trump would both go along with it.

“Just by watching and listening to Biden, it’s pretty clear that he’s not what he used to be,” said Pack, a registered nurse.

Trump card? “He’s a lot sharper, but who knows, at the end of his term?” said Pack, reflecting on January 2029. “I’m just ready for someone younger.” He’s had enough of a man who is “just about himself” and “wears his charges like a badge of honor,” but if that’s the one who needs it to Defeating Biden, that’s how it’s supposed to be.


The AP-NORC survey went beyond asking questions and presenting choices. There was also a word association exercise where people were asked to offer the first word or phrase that came to mind when each man was mentioned.

Responses highlighted how age is a particular stressor for Biden across party lines, even when people aren’t encouraged to think about it, and how Trump largely eludes it, only to inspire contempt, if not disgust, on other fronts.

In these spontaneous responses, 26% mentioned Biden’s age and another 15% used words like “slow” or “confused.” One Republican thought of “potato.” Among Democrats, 28% named Biden’s age in advance. They preferred such terms to “president,” “leader,” “strong,” or “capable.” One who approves of his achievement calls him “senile”.

Only 3% of respondents used “confused” as the first descriptor for Trump, and just 1% used “old” or something similar. Instead, words like “corrupt” or “crooked” (15%), “bad” and other generally negative terms (11%), words like “liar” and “dishonest” (8%) were the most common “good” and others generally positive comments (8%).

Why are the two different in terms of the public perception of their time?

“Biden just seems very hampered by age-related issues,” said Eric Dezenhall, 60, a corporate scandal management consultant who has followed Trump’s career and worked in Ronald Reagan’s White House. “Even people who like him see him as frail and not quite ‘there’.”

“Whatever Trump’s negatives, I don’t think most people see a connection to him being disabled due to age,” he said. “In fact, the more you throw at him, the more he looks like a raging toddler. Disturbing, sure, but old? Not necessarily. Trump has been ranting like this for almost eight decades and it always drives him forward.”

For 31-year-old Diego Saldana, seeing Biden fumble a few words or take hesitant steps feels almost like home.

“I see all the symptoms my grandpa had,” he said. “You can’t run a country that way.” His grandfather is now 94 years old. Saldana supports Trump despite hesitation about the criminal charges against him.

Eric Colwell, 34, an audit manager in Sacramento, California, came up with the words “old” for Biden and “incompetent” for Trump as a first impression. As an independent leaning towards Democracy, it sounded a little embarrassed on the phone that the US can’t do better than these two.

“Pure optics,” he said. “Elderly gentlemen. You want your leaders to be vibrant and energetic from a visual perspective. And we tend to fall short.”

He views Trump, with all his hand gestures and animations, as “a bigger character, a little livelier, just his personality.” It gives him that energetic look.” But Colwell certainly won’t be going there.

“Biden was a good move to calm things down,” he said. “Biden represents more of the status quo and normalcy, and that’s probably what initially drew everyone to him,” following the tumult during the Trump presidency.

“Now you have the return to stability. But to move forward and make measurable change in my generation, we’re probably going to need younger leadership.”

Alyssa Baggio, 32, is a pro-Democracy independent based in Vancouver, Washington who works as a recruiter for a home builder. She thought Biden was too old for the presidency before he took it. She is now convinced and ready to vote for anyone else next year just not Trump.

“I don’t think he did a bad job in office,” she said of Biden, “but I think it’s more because he surrounds himself with more experienced and logical people than Trump does.”

Not that she values ​​experience much, except in foreign policy. “DC is a swamp,” she said, “and the more experience you get, the more swampy you get.”

Jose Tapia, 33, a videographer for a tech company in Raleigh, North Carolina, said, “There must be a lot of younger people who are also super skilled. There are no new faces at all.”

Older Democrats are less hostile to Biden’s decision to run again than younger Democrats. In the poll, just 34% of Democrats under 45 want him to run for re-election, compared to 54% of those older. Still, about three-quarters of junior Democrats say they would at least likely support him if he were the nominee; others have not committed to it.


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

“It’s a kind of classic ageism that we’ve been fighting for 50 years,” he said. “The age of the person doesn’t matter. It’s the policies they bring up that matter. And the number of orbits around the sun is not an important variable at all.”

By observing both men from afar and examining their medical records, Olshansky believes Biden and Trump are likely “super-agers,” despite signs of frailty due to Biden and Trump’s overweight.

“Biden is likely to outlive Trump because he has fewer harmful risk factors and sports significantly more than Trump does,” he said. But overall, “both work at a very high level.”

“If you don’t like what they say,” he added, “it’s not because of how old they are. That’s because you don’t like what they say.”


The survey of 1,165 adults was conducted August 10-14, 2023. A sample from NORC’s probability-based AmeriSpeak Panel, which is intended to be representative of the US population, was used. The sampling error rate is plus/minus 3.8 percentage points for all respondents.


Contributing to this report were Washington-based AP video journalist Nathan Ellgren and New York-based Associated Press writer Linley Sanders.


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Jennifer Adams

Dedicated news writer with a passion for truth and accuracy. Covering stories that impact lives.

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