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Washington: Americans actually agree on something in this time of raw 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 Republican nomination despite his multiple criminal indictments. Never mind his advanced years – if anything, some say, the 77-year-old ought to grow up.
Joe Biden is considered by many Americans to be too old to effectively govern for a second term – more so than Donald Trump.Credit: AP/Getty
A new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Centre for Public Affairs Research finds much of the public oddly united in sizing up the one trait Biden cannot change.
The president has taken to raising the age issue himself, with wisecracks, as if trying to relax his audiences about his 80 trips around the sun.
Age discrimination may be banned in the workplace but the president’s employers – the people – aren’t shy about their bias.
In the poll, fully 77 per cent said Biden is too old to be effective for four more years. Not only do 89 per cent of Republicans say that, so do 69 per cent 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.
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 Republicans.
What’s clear from the poll is that Americans are saying out with the old and in with the young, or at least younger.
Democrats, Republicans and independents want to sweep a broad broom through the halls of power, imposing age limits on the presidency, Congress and the Supreme Court. In all 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 per cent favour requiring Supreme Court justices to retire by a certain age, 68 per cent support age ceilings for candidates for House and Senate, and 66 per cent support age ceilings for candidates for president.
With elders mostly running the show and the Constitution to contend with, don’t expect that to happen any time soon.
Even so, the survey suggests lots of people across political lines are open to seeing a younger face, a fresher one, or both, capture the public imagination.
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The poll of 1165 adults was conducted August 10-14, 2023, using a sample drawn 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.
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