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Most Americans Don't Believe Biden Fit to Serve -- Now What?

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of
AP Photo/Susan Walsh

President Joe Biden was born Nov. 20, 1942. That has been a well-known fact, or at least a widely available fact, since Biden entered national politics a half-century ago. The fact that Biden is 80 years old now, and that he will be 82 when the next presidential term begins, and that he will be 86 when that term ends -- all that has been known at all times surrounding Biden's campaigns and presidency.


And yet it appears that Biden's advanced age has only now begun to register in a truly deep way with American voters. Yes, large numbers of voters have expressed concern about Biden's age for quite a while. But it appears the level of concern has hit a new level, one that will have a profound effect on Biden's effort to win another term in the White House.

A new poll from ABC News and the Washington Post has absolutely devastating news for Biden on the age issue. The headline: Solid majorities of Americans think he is not mentally and physically up to the job of president of the United States.

The news comes from two questions. First, ABC and the Post asked, "Do you think Biden has the mental sharpness it takes to serve effectively as president, or not?" Second, the pollsters asked, "Do you think Biden is in good enough physical health to serve as president, or not?"

Sixty-three percent of registered voters said Biden does not have the mental sharpness to serve, and 62% said he is not in good enough physical health to serve. Those are huge, decisive numbers. And they reflect a broad agreement among Americans of all ages and circumstances.

First, by party. Obviously, Biden's greatest support is among Democrats. But 21% of his party said he does not have the mental sharpness, and 23% said he does not have the physical health to serve effectively. That's a not insignificant minority in a place where Biden should have rock-solid support. Among independents, 69% said Biden does not have the mental sharpness, and 65% said he does not have the physical health to serve. Among Republicans, views are nearly unanimous -- 94% and 93% -- that Biden does not have the ability to go on.


Americans of all age groups believe Biden is no longer fit to serve. Among those aged 18 to 39, 70% said he does not have the mental sharpness, and 68% said he does not have the physical health to serve as president. Among those 40 to 64, the responses were 61% and 60%. And among those 65 and older, 55% and 53% said the same.

There is a gender gap in the numbers, but it's not much help to Biden. Among women, 58% said he does not have the mental sharpness, and another 58% said he does not have the physical health to serve. Among men, the numbers were 68% and 65%.

Americans of all educational levels believe Biden does not have what it takes. High school or less, some college, college degree, graduate degree -- everybody thinks Biden is not up to the job. Yes, Biden has more support on the upper end of the educational scale, where there are more Democrats. But the bottom line is, a majority of everybody thinks he is not able to do the job.

The same is true with race and ethnicity. Among whites, 67% said Biden does not have the mental sharpness, while 65% said he does not have the physical health to serve. Among non-whites, the numbers were 55% and 56%. And among Hispanics, the numbers were 54% and 59%.

Then there is geography. Majorities of Americans in every region of the country -- Northeast, Midwest, South and West -- believe Biden does not have the mental or physical ability to continue as president. The same is true for urban, suburban and rural areas.


Taken together, the numbers are absolutely conclusive. There is a wide and deep agreement among Americans that their 80-year-old president, who is now running for reelection, is not mentally or physically up to the job. To state the obvious, that has to have a profound effect on the upcoming presidential campaign.

Finally, any time the subject of Biden's condition comes up, there are a number of people who will reflexively say: "Now do Trump." And indeed, former President Donald Trump is old; were he to win election, he would begin his term at age 78 and finish at 82. But the ABC-Washington Post poll found a difference in the public's perceptions of the two men's condition. Fifty-four percent of all registered voters surveyed said Trump has the mental sharpness to serve as president, while 65% said he has the physical strength. While many believe both men are too old to be president, voters clearly make distinctions between Biden and Trump, and the bottom line is, they think Trump is in better shape.

In any event, Trump is not president. The most dramatic story in the new poll is the single, stark fact that most Americans do not believe the current president is fit for the job, either mentally or physically. What happens now?

This content originally appeared on the Washington Examiner at


(Byron York is chief political correspondent for The Washington Examiner. For a deeper dive into many of the topics Byron covers, listen to his podcast, The Byron York Show, available on the Ricochet Audio Network at and everywhere else podcasts are found.)

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