Does Biden's age matter?

President Joe Biden lately took a really public tumble after he tripped on a sandbag and fell whereas onstage on the U.S. Air Power Academy commencement. This has stirred up renewed hypothesis about his bodily and psychological health because of his superior age. 

The autumn comes months after he formally introduced his bid for reelection in 2024. The president entered the race amid lukewarm help for his reelection bid in polls. An April NBC Information ballot indicated {that a} Biden-Trump rematch in 2024 remained unpopular amongst most voters. Biden’s announcement might have clarified questions on his candidacy, however questions on his psychological competency and superior age nonetheless loom. The president’s age remained a big problem for practically half of the respondents in opposition to him operating for a second time period. 

Biden stated he revered that voters have questioned his well being and psychological schools because of his age and insisted he took that into consideration when contemplating whether or not to run once more. “I took a tough take a look at it earlier than I made a decision to run, and I really feel good, I really feel excited concerning the prospects,” Biden stated when requested about his age days after saying his marketing campaign. The latest report from the president’s doctor, Dr. Kevin O’Connor, stated he was “match for obligation” and “totally executes all of his duties with none exemptions or lodging.”

Why is Biden’s age so noteworthy?

President Biden is 80 years previous; at age 78, he grew to become the oldest individual to imagine the presidency in U.S. historical past. By the top of his time period, he’ll be 82. Now that Biden has formally confirmed that he is operating for reelection, he could be 86 by the top of his second time period, eight years older than the typical life expectancy for an American male. Ronald Reagan started his second time period on the age of 73 and is extensively believed to have suffered from Alzheimer’s towards the top of his presidency. The median age of American presidents on Inauguration Day is 55.

Is he exhibiting indicators of cognitive decline?

Not essentially. Biden continuously stumbles over his phrases, however that may very well be no less than partially due to his historical past with a stutter. Journalist John Hendrickson described Biden’s stutter, and his lifelong wrestle to manage it, because the president’s “most seen weak spot” but in addition “the primary supply of his grit and willpower.” Senior care consultants observe that some types of dementia can result in stuttering and that childhood stutters typically reemerge amongst aged individuals, particularly in the event that they expertise a rise in confusion or anxiousness.

Final yr, in an op-ed for The Hill, Marc Siegel famous that “no less than 15% of these over the age of 75 have some cognitive impairment,” that the president has a number of danger components that would improve the chance of cognitive points, and that the physician’s report following Biden’s bodily in November 2022 discovered “a big worsening within the president’s gait, which in some instances might be associated to degenerative illness within the mind or the spinal twine.” That report additionally concluded that Biden was “match to efficiently execute the duties of the presidency.”

What are commentators saying about Biden’s age? 

It is likely to be “deeply unfair” to make assumptions about Biden’s capability to do his job due to his age. In his case, “it is inconceivable to disclaim that politics and conspiracy theories, quite than details, gas no less than among the concern,” The New York Instances editorial board opined. Nonetheless, Biden and different candidates should not faux that “superior age is not a problem.” As Biden runs for reelection, he “might want to present express reassurance to voters; lots of them have seen relations decline quickly of their 80s.” 

Democrats ought to see Biden’s superior age “as a not best state of affairs however one which’s higher than the probably alternate options,” Matthew Cooper wrote within the Washington Month-to-month. Whereas Biden’s passable well being studies have been “lower than reassuring,” Cooper stated he has “been in a position to do the job properly, and he is executed it in higher bodily form than earlier presidents who overcame worse infirmities,” comparable to Ronald Reagan, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson. “Barring a cataclysmic well being decline,” Cooper added, “Biden shall be in higher form in a second time period than Reagan, FDR and definitely Wilson.” Biden’s age could also be “unprecedented,” however so would shedding along with his file, Cooper concluded. 

Primarily based on his unpopularity in current polls, The Wall Avenue Journal’s editorial board believed the general public understands “that electing an octogenarian in apparent decline for an additional 4 years may very well be a historic mistake.” Asking individuals to elect a person who’s already the oldest president to carry workplace “is a dangerous act that borders on egocentric.” Whereas the Journal contended that the White Home hides Biden’s “actual bodily and psychological state,” the editorial board stated, “his decline is obvious to anybody who is not willfully blind. “

What does polling present?

When Biden was a candidate within the 2020 race, his comparatively robust debate performances and pandemic-driven minimalist marketing campaign technique impressed confidence that, regardless of his age, Biden was nonetheless in full command of his schools. Simply earlier than the 2020 election, voters “believed [Biden] was mentally match by a 21-point margin,” Politico. reported.

That confidence did not final. By November 2021, 48% of voters stated Biden was mentally unfit for workplace. Three months later, that quantity was as much as 54%.

About three in 4 People surveyed within the April Related Press-NORC Heart for Public Affairs Analysis ballot would favor Biden did not run once more. Solely 47% of Democrats polled need to see Biden on the poll, but 41% stated they might help him if he ran, and one other 40% stated they may. “Interviews with ballot respondents recommend that the hole displays considerations about Biden’s age,” the AP defined, “in addition to a clamoring from a youthful technology of Democrats who say they need management that displays their demographic and their values.” 

Within the newest Washington Publish-ABC Information ballot, 68% of People surveyed stated Biden was too previous for a second time period in workplace. His general job ranking additionally sunk to 36%, down from 42% in February. Solely 34% general felt that Biden had the psychological sharpness to function president, and simply 30% felt he had the bodily fortitude wanted for the position. The ballot was performed from April 28 by way of Might 3, 2023, with 1,006 respondents and a margin of error of +/-3.5.

In an NBC ballot launched in April, 70% of People surveyed stated Biden shouldn’t run for a second time period in workplace, whereas simply 26% stated he ought to. Amongst Democrats, 51% voted in opposition to Biden looking for a second time period, whereas 48% of these in opposition to Biden operating stated his age was a significant factor in that stance. Former President Donald Trump, who has additionally formally put in his bid, did not fare significantly better with the ballot respondents, with 60% in opposition to him operating once more. The survey was taken from April 14 by way of 18, with 1,000 respondents and a margin of error of +/-3.1.

Up to date June 6, 2023: This text has been up to date all through.