Biden's age sparks concern ahead of upcoming election

In a New York Times and Siena College poll, 61 percent voters considered Biden "too old"

Joe Biden if relected would break his own record as the oldest president of the United States / X/@POTUS

In a recent poll conducted by The New York Times and Siena College, New York, a notable shift in the perception of President Joe Biden among voters who supported him four years ago has come to light. A significant 61 percent of respondents expressed concerns that the 81-year-old president is "just too old" to effectively fulfill his presidential duties.

Within this group, 19 percent of those who voted for Biden in 2020 and 13 percent of those expressing intention to back him in the upcoming November elections believe that the president's age has become a hindrance, rendering him incapable of handling the job. These reservations span across generational, gender, racial, and educational lines, highlighting President Biden's struggle to dispel worries within his own party and counter Republican criticisms depicting him as disoriented.

The unease regarding Biden's age, previously observed in polls and private discussions among Democratic officials, seems to be intensifying as he approaches securing the party's nomination. The survey, conducted over two weeks after heightened scrutiny in early February, revealed a growing apprehension, exacerbated by a special counsel's report describing the president as a "well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory" and having "diminished faculties in advancing age."

In the report of over 300 pages, special counsel Robert K. Hur, Special Counsel with the U.S. Department of Justice highlighted that upon concluding his vice presidency, President Joe Biden departed the White House with classified documents related to Afghanistan and notebooks containing handwritten entries that "implicated sensitive intelligence sources and methods.”

Hur expressed disapproval of Biden's actions, particularly the sharing of notebook content with a ghostwriter involved in the creation of his 2017 memoir, "Promise Me, Dad," despite being aware of its classified nature.

However, Hur said that the evidence presented in the report falls short of establishing guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. The special counsel was appointed by Attorney General Merrick B. Garland in January 2023 to lead the inquiry after classified files were discovered in both the garage and living areas of Biden's Delaware residence and his former office in Washington. 

Comparisons with previous polling data indicate an escalating trend in voters' hesitations about Biden's age. In October, across six key battleground states, 55 percent of 2020 Biden voters believed he was too old to be an effective president, a sharp increase from the 16 percent expressing similar concerns in a slightly different set of swing states in 2020.

The most recent Times survey also revealed that 19 percent of all voters see Trump's age as a problem for handling the presidency. In stark contrast, less than 1 percent of 2020 Trump supporters believe his age makes him incapable, indicating a significant level of confidence in the Republican nominee.

Voters do not seem to share the same anxieties about former President Donald J. Trump, who, at 77, is only four years younger than Biden. A potential rematch between the two would see them become the oldest presidential nominees in history, with Biden potentially breaking his own record as the oldest sitting president if re-elected, at 86, while Trump would be the second-oldest at 82.