52% of Americans Would Support Biden Ending His Campaign

July 11, 2024
R&WS Research Team
Donald Trump | Elections | Joe Biden | US Presidential Election 2024 | US Public Figures

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With Joe Biden (81) and Donald Trump (78), the 2024 US Presidential election will feature the two oldest candidates ever to be nominated by the two major parties. As a consequence, age and mental and physical fitness for office have become central issues for voters.

While voters have expressed concerns over the ages of both Trump and Biden, the issue has become more acute for President Biden. Doubts about Biden’s fitness have only increased in the wake of his poor performance in the first Presidential debate (27 June 2024), which has left many Democrats questioning whether Biden can (or should) continue as their candidate. 

Biden has forcefully rejected calls in recent days to quit the race, writing an open letter to House Democrats confirming his intention to run and calling into a morning show to reassure voters. 

In our most recent polling, conducted in partnership with Newsweek, we asked voters how concerned they were about Biden and Trump’s ages and whether they saw the two candidates as fit for office. 

Firstly, of the Americans who watched the televised debate (or followed coverage about it), 55% think that Trump won the debate, compared to 27% for Biden—a wide margin that contrasts significantly with Trump’s narrow voting intention lead in the same polling.

Following the debate, a majority of Americans (60%) say they are now more concerned about Biden’s fitness for office following his performance at the recent presidential debate, compared to only 7% who feel less concerned.

While 75% of those intending to support Trump in 2024 say they are now more concerned about Biden’s fitness for office, a majority of 54% of the voters intending to vote for Biden are also now more concerned about Biden’s fitness for office following the debate.

Moreover, 56% of Americans now agree that Biden is not mentally or physically capable of discharging his duties as President, with only around one-fifth of voters (21%) disagreeing and believing that he is capable of discharging his duties.

When broken down by voting intention, a third (34%) of likely Biden voters agree that Biden is not mentally or physically capable of discharging his duties, a view shared by the vast majority (81%) of likely Trump voters.

The 25th Amendment of the US Constitution makes it possible to remove a President from office if they are unable to discharge the powers and duties of the presidency.

51% of respondents say they would support the 25th Amendment being invoked to remove Biden, compared to 20% who would oppose this measure being taken. 

This latest figure represents a 14-point increase in support for invoking the 25th Amendment to remove Biden from office since we last posed this question in February 2024, at which point only 37% of Americans supported using it.

While 2020 Trump voters are more likely to support the use of the 25th Amendment (with 69% expressing support), a substantial 41% of 2020 Biden voters would now support using the 25th Amendment to remove Biden from office, an increase of 15 points from February 2024 when 26% of 2020 Biden voters supported the use of the amendment. 

Altogether, many Americans now favour Joe Biden dropping out of the Presidential race. 

A majority of Americans (52%) would now support Joe Biden ending his campaign for President, compared to 23% who would oppose him doing so.

Most significantly for Biden, 56% of voters who intend to vote for Biden would support him ending his campaign, while only 22% would oppose him doing so.

Support for Biden dropping out of the race is even slightly higher among likely Biden voters than it is among likely Trump voters (54%).

45% of all voters now think the Democrats would have a better chance of winning the 2024 Election with someone other than Joe Biden as their candidate, compared to 36% who think Biden has a better chance of winning than another Democrat against Trump.

At the same time, just 19% of likely Biden voters think the Democrats would have a better chance of winning the election if they nominated someone else. Instead, 70% of voters intending to vote for Biden in 2024 still believe that the Democrats have the best chance of winning with him

The fallout from Biden’s debate performance has reinforced pre-existing concerns about his ability to do his job.

In late June, in polling conducted both before and immediately after the debate, an overwhelming majority of Americans (80%) said they were concerned to some degree about Biden’s ability to discharge his duties in office, with a large plurality (42%) saying they were ‘very’ concerned.

But Biden is not the only candidate subject to this concern. In the same poll, two-thirds of voters (66%) also expressed some degree of concern about Trump’s ability to discharge his duties should he be re-elected, with 30% saying they were ‘very concerned.’

However, 47% of 2020 Trump voters said they were ‘not at all concerned’ with Trump’s ability to discharge his duties, while only 20% of Biden voters said the same for their candidate.

In this context, 71% of Americans now believe that politicians above a certain age should be required to take competency tests to prove their mental fitness for office. Just 7% disagree.

Support for cognitive tests for older politicians is somewhat higher amongst older voters: 76% of Boomers (aged 59+) and 75% of Gen X-ers (43 to 58) support competency tests, compared to 62% of Gen Z-ers (18 to 26).

Amidst this widespread concern expressed about the ages of both candidates, we further find that 56% of Americans wish that there was someone else besides Donald Trump and Joe Biden running for President. Only 21% of respondents disagree with this sentiment.

While the ages of both candidates have become a topic of nationwide debate, it is clear that such a discussion is more damaging for Joe Biden than for Donald Trump. 

With the Democratic Party seemingly paralysed over whether to stick or twist when it comes to Biden’s continuing candidacy, it remains to be seen if Biden will be able to assuage the concerns of his party about his continuing ability to do his job and save his candidacy

To find out more information about this research contact our research team. Redfield & Wilton Strategies is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules. Follow us on Twitter

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